Health

Your bad breath might be due to stomach issues

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, August 20, 2017



WHEN it comes to bad breath, most know to avoid the repeat offenders such as strong-smelling foods or tooth decay. But your bad breath might not be coming from the condition of your mouth, but your stomach.

In fact, bad breath from stomach issues can be even more perplexing than typical bad breath, because it's harder to identify, isolate and treat. Still, understanding the different causes of stomach-related halitosis can help you decide if your bad breath is just from a garlicky lunch, or something more serious.

Causes of bad breath

Your digestive tract can have more to do with your oral health than you think. Here are some common problems when dealing with bad breath from stomach issues:

• GERD or reflux

If you tend to have heartburn or reflux after eating certain foods – think dairy and spicy fare – then your bad breath could be related to the excess acid produced by your digestive tract. Those acids can have a sour odour, resulting in those gaseous smells affecting your breath. Bad breath can be a sign of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD.

• Kidney disease

Bad breath that smells fishy or has a heavy ammonia-like smell can sometimes be a sign of chronic kidney disease.

• Ulcers

Halitosis in the mouth is often attributed to the common H.pylori bacteria. It is hypothesised that this bacteria not only contributes to stomach ulcers but can emit a sulphuric odour.

Dealing with bad breath

The first step in dealing with bad breath that seems to come from the stomach is determining its cause. If you know that you're sensitive to certain foods, you'll know that your bad breath is probably related to stomach acid.

Or, if you notice that the smell is distinctively ammonia-like in scent, you could deduce that it might be the result of a kidney infection or chronic disease.

Talk to your doctor about what you think might be the cause of your halitosis, so you can work together to come up with a treatment plan for your specific issue.

Once you've addressed the underlying issue for your bad breath, you can consider other treatment options to keep unpleasant scents at bay.

•Avoid your triggers

If spicy food, dairy, stress, or other triggers seem to make your bad breath worse, take note so you can avoid them in the future.

•Chew gum

Chewing on sugar-free gum to help banish bad breath, if only for a short while until you can address the real issue.

•Keep a healthy mouth

Just because your bad breath stems from a stomach issue doesn't mean you should ignore your oral hygiene. Brushing twice daily and using a mouthwash helps to kill some bacteria that contributes to bad breath.

•Consider a probiotic

Better breath could start with a healthier gut, so talk to your doctor about taking a probiotic or adding a daily cup of yogurt to your health routine. Probiotics can restore the balance of acid in your digestive tract so you're less likely to suffer some negative effects.

You can't always blame bad breath on germs in the mouth. Sometimes, the problem goes much deeper than that. By isolating some other side effects you've experienced with your bad breath and talking to your doctor, you can address the issue head-on and get a healthier stomach and mouth to boot.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at Shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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