Study: Overweight People at Higher Risk for Bad Breath

Here's one more reason to lose weight.

Researchers in Israel studying a link between bad breath and alcohol consumption stumbled across a surprising finding: The more overweight you are, the more likely your breath will smell unpleasant to those around you.

The research, conducted by faculty at the Tel Aviv University, was reported in the Journal of Dental Research.

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“The finding on alcohol and bad breath was not surprising because the anecdotal evidence was already there,” said study author Mel Rosenberg, a professor in the university's Department of Human Microbiology, in a news release. “However, the finding that correlated obesity to bad breath was unanticipated.”

The study was done in Israel and included a sample of 88 adults of varying weights and heights. During regular checkups, participants were asked by graduate student Tsachi Knaan, a co-author in the study, whether he could test the odor of their breath and ask questions about their daily habits.

The study's authors concluded from the data that overweight patients were more likely to have foul-smelling breath. “This finding should hold for the general public,” said Rosenberg. “But we don’t have any scientific evidence as to why this is the case. That will be the next step.”

Rosenberg said obese people may have a diet that promotes the condition of dry mouth and suggests that people who are obese may be less in tune with taking care of their mouths and bodies. “We have certainly opened a window of questions here,” he added.