When it comes to bad breath, obvious offenders, like strong-smelling foods or poor oral hygiene, are often top-of-mind. However, bad breath doesn't always come straight from your mouth — it could stem from a problem in your stomach. Bad breath from stomach issues can be perplexing because it's harder to identify, isolate, and treat. Still, understanding what causes bad breath from the stomach can help you decide if your breath is from a garlicky lunch or something more serious.
Bad Breath From Stomach Problems? What It Means And How To Fix It
Bad Breath Causes
Your digestive tract can have more to do with your oral health than you think. The first step in dealing with bad breath, or halitosis, that seems to come from the stomach is determining its cause. If you know that you're sensitive to certain foods, your bad breath could be related to stomach acid. Or, if you notice that your breath smells like ammonia, it could be the result of a kidney infection or chronic disease. Here are some common causes of bad breath from stomach issues.
- GERD or reflux — Bad breath can be a sign of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. If you tend to have heartburn or reflux, your bad breath could be related to the excess acid produced by your digestive tract. Those acids can have a sour odor, affecting your breath.
- Kidney disease — The U.S. National Library of Medicine noted that bad breath that smells fishy or has a heavy ammonia-like smell can sometimes be a sign of chronic kidney disease.
- Ulcers — A link has been found between bad breath and H. pylori bacteria. This bacteria is a common cause of peptic ulcers, as well as dyspepsia. However, additional research needs to be performed to determine precisely how H. pylori contribute to bad breath.
- Bowel obstruction — One symptom of bowel obstruction is bad breath. This occurs because nothing can move down your intestinal tract. Everything inside the digestive tract ferments and produces a bad odor that escapes through the mouth.
Talk to your doctor about how to cure bad breath coming from the stomach. Make sure to discuss all of your symptoms, not just the bad breath, to develop a treatment plan.
Bad Breath Remedies
The main treatment for bad breath from the stomach is treating the root cause. In addition to that, you can take some daily steps to help freshen your breath.
- Avoid your triggers. Take note of triggers like spicy food, dairy, stress, or other things that seem to make your bad breath worse so you can steer clear of them.
- Chew gum. Try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and help banish bad breath.
- Keep a healthy mouth. Brush twice a day, clean in between your teeth with interdental brushes, floss, or water flossers daily, and use a mouthwash to ensure you don't have food particles or bacteria contributing 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.
It's not always simple to identify the cause of bad breath, and sometimes the problem is more complicated than forgetting to brush. Keep track of solutions you've tried and other symptoms you're experiencing so you can talk with your doctor to find the underlying cause. That way, you can address the issue head-on and work toward fresher breath!
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.