Can Your Gut Cause Bad Breath?
Yes, 5% of bad breath cases are due to gut-related problems.
What Is Bad Breath From The Gut?
Bad Breathe from the gut [Halitosis], more commonly known as bad breath, is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Bad breath is caused by a variety of facts. In most cases, bad breath can be treated with improved oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.
Causes of Bad Breath From The Stomach
– Imbalance of Gut Bacteria
– Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
– Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
– Dietary Causes of Halitosis
– Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
– Chronic Kidney Disease
– Oesophageal diverticula
– Pyloric stenosis
– Oesophageal cancer
– Stomach cancer
– Gastric cancer
– Bone Broth
– Egg whites
– Fish and shellfish
– Vitamin C [berries, mangos, pineapple, guava, and citrus fruits]
Most people are used to blame on poor hygiene for their bad breath. However, in some cases, the real cause of Halitosis might be underlying medical conditions. In this article, we will be discussing such situations that cause bad breath and how you can manage them with home remedies.
What is bad breath?
Bad breath, also identified as Halitosis or oral malodor, is characterized by an unpleasant smell from the mouth. The odor is usually due to the presence of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria break down food particles and produce compounds with a strong, unpleasant odor.
Bad breath can be embarrassing and can cause social anxiety. It can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. About 50% to 65% of the world’s population suffers from bad breath. Of those affected, about 85% of cases are due to oral causes, while 15% are due to systemic reasons.
Can your gut cause bad breath?
Although most lousy breath cases occur due to oral causes, studies show that about 5% of bad breath cases are due to gut-related problems. Even if you maintain good oral hygiene, you might still suffer from bad breath due to gut problems.
Gut-related bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors. Certain conditions lead to bad-smelling compounds in the gut that are then released into the breath.
What does gut breath smell like?
The smell of gut breath can vary depending on the underlying condition. For example, the breath can be a fishy, feces-like, fruit-like, or foul odor.
The fishy smell or ammonia-like or urine-like odor is produced when there is a protein breakdown. Urine-like odor can be due to kidney-related problems or liver failure.
The feces-like or poop-smelling odor is produced when there is a bowel obstruction. It usually occurs when the patient vomits or has diarrhea. According to the same MedlinePlus source, this may also occur if someone has a tube placed through the nose or mouth to relieve them of their stomach contents.
A MedlinePlus article states that the fruity smell is usually caused by diabetes. When the body breaks down sugars, it produces a compound called acetone. Acetone has a fruity smell that can be detected in the breath of Diabetic ketoacidosis patients.
General bad smell
In some cases, the bad breath might not smell like anything. It can just have a general bad odor. This is usually due to the presence of volatile compounds in the gut.
Causes of bad breath from the stomach
A wide range of health conditions can contribute to the development of Halitosis. However, prevalent causes of Halitosis are intraoral conditions like insufficient dental hygiene, periodontitis, and tongue coating. Other causes of bad breath include,
Imbalance of gut bacteria
The gut consists of many different types of bacteria, each of which plays a vital role in overall health. Dysbiosis can occur when the gut microbiome is out of balance. Dysbiosis is characterized by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a decrease in the healthy microbiome in the gut microbiome. This can lead to several health complications, including bad breath.
Bad breath may occur when H. pylori infections (harmful bacteria) in the gut, which can indicate this infection. H. pylori bacteria can cause stomach ulcers and lead to various other health problems. Halitosis is also common in Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) conditions. Diagnosis of Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is made with a Glucose hydrogen breath test due to bacterial overgrowth.
In both H. pylori infections and SIBO conditions, the overgrowth of bacteria leads to the production of bad-smelling compounds that are released into the breath, which can be used to diagnose the condition, as stated above. The smell is similar to the smell of rotten eggs.
If you are experiencing bad breath and suspect dysbiosis may be the cause, you must see a qualified healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include dietary changes, probiotics, and antibiotics.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
A peer-reviewed study about Halitosis and gastroesophageal reflux disease suggests a possible association between Halitosis and gastroesophageal reflux disease. In this study, participants with GERD were likelier to have Halitosis than those without GERD.
The link between GERD and Halitosis is likely because GERD can cause stomach contents, including food and stomach acid in the digestive tract, to be regurgitated back up into the throat. This can lead to an increased risk of bad breath. Treatment for GERD may include dietary changes, antacids, and proton pump inhibitors.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Bad breath can be a symptom of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome subtype. The study found out that out of all the IBS subtypes, IBS-M was most common (48.4%) and resulted in more frequent and intense Halitosis (bad breath), vomiting, and burping, which means that bad breath might be more common in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Other symptoms of IBS include:
- abdominal pain
Treatment for IBS may include dietary changes, probiotics, and medications.
Dietary causes of halitosis
As stated in a PubMed Journal, certain foods and beverages can cause bad breath, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods. These foods can cause bad breath because they contain sulfur-containing compounds released into the breath.
Other dietary causes of bad breath include:
- chloral hydrate
- nitrites and nitrates
- dimethyl sulfoxide
- suplatast tosilate
If you are experiencing Halitosis due to dietary causes, simple changes in diet, such as avoiding foods that cause bad breath, can help to improve the condition.
Xerostomia (dry mouth)
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is a condition where the mouth becomes parched, and it can be the reason for bad breath. The journal further states that decreased saliva production is often caused by stress, a disease symptom, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or specific medication. Saliva aids in mouth cleansing by keeping food particles from sticking to your tongue and the walls of your oral cavity. If you produce a little spit, these food particles would then remain in your mouth and decay, causing an unpleasant odor.
A dry mouth can be uncomfortable and lead to bad breath, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry mouth, it is essential to see your doctor or dentist for treatment. Drinking plenty of water, sucking on ice chips or sugar-free candy, and using a saliva substitute are all ways to help relieve dry mouth symptoms.
Chronic kidney disease
Halitosis is a common symptom of Kidney failure, and 50% of adults suffer from this condition. Also, 33% of patients with kidney disease suffer from chronic bad breath.
According to this research, tongue coating, in conjunction with hydrogen sulfide and hyposalivation, is the primary reason for bad breath in kidney disease.
Other symptoms of kidney disease include:
- loss of appetite
- swelling in the ankles, legs, and feet
- trouble urinating
- dark-colored urine
- dry skin
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment for kidney disease may include dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Other gastroenterological disease
Bad breath is also associated with rare gastroenterological disorders such as oesophageal diverticula, achalasia, pyloric stenosis, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and gastric cancer. According to the research, patients with problems in the digestive system should maintain good oral hygiene and follow a gastroenterologist’s treatment.
Other medical conditions unrelated to the gastrointestinal system, such as liver failure, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections, can also cause bad breath. If you are experiencing bad breath and are unsure of the cause, it is essential to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Treatment for bad breath
Treatment for Halitosis will vary depending on the underlying cause. Some common therapies include mouthwashes, toothpaste, and tongue scrapers. If the underlying health issue is underlying, treatment will be directed toward that condition.
Mouthwashes and toothpaste
A wide variety of mouthwashes and toothpaste available over the counter can help freshen your breath. Although they can’t help cure bad breath, specific mouthwash products can lessen the condition. Toothpaste and mouthwash containing 0.2% chlorhexidine are the most effective in reducing oral malodor.
Did You Know? Using a good toothbrush can help reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, both of which can cause bad breath.
Tongue scrapers are a tool that can be used to remove the tongue coating, which is often the cause of bad breath. To use a tongue scraper, place the device at the back of your tongue and pull it forward. Be sure to scrape both sides of your tongue.
Bad breath from the gut home remedies
Besides maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly, you may also want to try some home remedies to help freshen your breath.
Chewing gum can help to stimulate saliva production, which can help to flush out food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath. To avoid tooth decay, choose sugar-free gum.
Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your mouth hydrated and flush out food particles and bacteria. Aim for at least eight water glasses per day.
Observe the triggers that cause bad breath and stay out as much as possible. We have included some potential triggers above under the topic “Dietary Causes of Halitosis.” If you seem to get bad breath after eating certain foods, try to avoid those foods.
Consider a probiotic
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed adequately, can confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotic supplements can aid in improving gut health and reducing bad breath, as stated in the PubMed journal Alleviation of halitosis by use of probiotics. You can consult a doctor about getting a probiotic or add a yogurt cup to your daily diet.
You can also take oral supplements that contain probiotics.
When to contact a medical professional
Contact your doctor if you seem to have chronic bad breath that does not go away with home remedies or over-the-counter products. Also, consult a doctor if you have other symptoms, along with bad breath. These symptoms may include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, poor digestion, stomach acid, vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue. These symptoms may indicate a more severe condition and should be evaluated by a doctor.
Bad breath can be a symptom of a digestive tract disorder, even though it is a common indication of gum disease. Poor gut health can also lead to bad breath. Therefore, patients with problems in the digestive system should maintain good oral hygiene in addition to following a gastroenterologist’s treatment. Home remedies, such as chewing gum, drinking water, and avoiding triggers, can also help to freshen your breath. If bad breath persists, consult your doctor.
What Is A Natural Remedy For Bad Breath From The Stomach?
Chewing gum, drinking water, and avoiding triggers are some natural remedies that can help to freshen your breath. You may also try a probiotic supplement to improve gut health and reduce bad breath. If bad breath persists, consult your doctor.
What Digestive Issues Cause Bad Breath?
Digestive issues that can cause bad breath include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), helicobacter pylori infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and stomach cancer. Other conditions, such as diabetes, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease, can also cause bad breath. If you have bad breath and any other symptoms, such as a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, poor digestion, stomach acid, vomiting, diarrhea, or fatigue, consult your doctor.
- Pubmed Journal: Interventions for managing Halitosis
- PubMed Review: Halitosis: The Multidisciplinary Approach
- PubMed Review: Halitosis: The Multidisciplinary Approach
- MedlinePlus: Breath odor
- MedlinePlus: Breath odor
- MedlinePlus: Diabetic Ketoacidosis
- PubMed Review: Microbial Volatile Compounds In Health And Disease Conditions
- Pubmed: Halitosis
- PubMed Journal: Relationship of Halitosis with Gastric Helicobacter Pylori Infection
- PubMed journal: Hydrogen Breath Tests in Gastrointestinal Diseases
- Pubmed: Halitosis
- Pubmed: clinical characteristics of the IBS
- Pubmed: Halitosis: From diagnosis to management
- PubMed Journal: Halitosis: From diagnosis to management
- National Institute of Medicine: Halitosis
- PubMed journal: Halitosis as a symptom of gastroenterological diseases
- Pubmed: Effect of Halita mouthwash
- PubMed journal: Alleviation of halitosis by use of probiotics