Why does my breath smell like fruit?

Under normal circumstances, the smell of fruit isn’t a cause for alarm or off-putting (unless we’re talking about durian, that is). But having fruity-scented breath could be a sign that your body isn’t working as it should.

The Mayo Clinic says having a sweet, fruity-scented breath could be just one of several symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a serious condition that takes place when your body isn’t able to produce enough insulin — a hormone which helps turn sugar into the energy needed to fuel your cells. When that happens, your body starts drawing on fat to turn into fuel, producing high levels of blood acids (also known as ketones) in the process. A buildup of these acids is what results in diabetic ketoacidosis.

Healthline says the condition doesn’t just come with fruity breath — it has other symptoms as well, including frequent urination, nausea, stomach pains, weakness, and fatigue. It’s most common in people who have type 1 diabetes, although it’s not unheard of in those with type 2. In either case, it’s best to seek help immediately if all these symptoms present themselves.

Diabetes causes more than just fruity breath

Fruity breath isn’t the only sign of a diabetes-related complication. Diabetes can also trigger other types of halitosis and can be linked to periodontitis, or the inflammation of the gums — a symptom of which is also bad breath (via Mayo Clinic). The American Academy of Periodontology says diabetes and periodontitis even go hand-in-hand in a vicious cycle, because periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, making it even more challenging for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.

To try and break this potential downward health spiral, Healthline suggests diabetics should work to keep periodontitis under control by brushing their teeth regularly, drinking plenty of water, working to keep blood sugar levels within their medically-set target range, and visiting the dentist regularly.

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