If you experience bad breath despite brushing and flossing every day, then there is a chance that the bad breath is not coming from your mouth. There could be some other underlying health issue related to your stomach.
In case there is an imbalance between the good and the harmful bacteria in your gut then your stomach problems can cause bad breath. Stomach problems, such as stomach ulcers, Gastroparesis, GERD, etc., can cause bad breath.
Moving further, you will learn about different stomach problems which can result in bad breath and some home remedies to get rid of bad breath coming from the stomach.
Possible stomach problems that can cause bad breath
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD is a digestive stomach problem which can cause bad breath. Apart from bad breath, GERD is also responsible for chronic heartburn. H.pylori infection causes GERD and most of the other stomach problems.
In this disease, when the lower esophageal valve becomes weak, it allows stomach acid to regurgitate back into the esophagus causing bad breath. Esophageal valve is responsible for the separation of the lower end of the esophagus from the stomach.
There are prescribed medicines for GERD which can help neutralize or reduce the stomach acid production. Also, if you have GERD, then you should substitute sugar and wheat from your diet and include more probiotic foods such as curd, kimchi, kefir, etc.
H.pylori bacteria causes duodenal ulcers and is responsible for 70% of the stomach ulcers. These bacteria also cause infection in older people and people who live in a less hygienic environment.
Many people don’t have any symptoms other than bad breath while suffering from H.pylori infection. (1)
The common symptoms of stomach ulcers include –
- Pain in the abdomen
- Burping and bloating
- Weight loss
- Peptic ulcers
When a person doesn’t have any symptom except bad breath then breath analysis, stool test, and blood test can help confirm infection.
A course of prescribed antibiotics like amoxicillin, tetracycline (not for children below 12 years), metronidazole, etc. can get rid of H.pylori symptoms and may resolve bad breath. (2)
Crohn’s and celiac disease
Someone who has Crohn’s or Celiac disease has limited capability to digest food. The undigested food is broken down by sulfur reducing bacteria in the gut which produces hydrogen sulfide causing burps and bad breath.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
The small intestine has a smaller number of bacteria, but bacterial overgrowth occurs at times due to other infections in the stomach.
Some patients develop this disease after an episode of gastric infection while lactose intolerant people could also suffer from SIBO.
Symptoms of SIBO include bad breath, burps, diarrhea, abdominal bloating after meals and fatigue. If your doctor suspects SIBO as the underlying cause of bad breath, then a hydrogen sulfide breath test will help reach a diagnosis.
Treatment of SIBO includes antibiotics course and elimination (or reduction) of sugar and wheat from the diet.
Stomach infection often presents as diarrhea, digestive problems, and bad breath simultaneously. Giardiasis infection causes bad breath along with bloating, farts and diarrhea.
The doctor can diagnose giardiasis by testing the stool sample of the person. Usually, prescribed antibiotics is the line of treatment.
The gallbladder produces digestive juices which help to absorb fat. An infection in the gallbladder or gallstones blocks the bile duct which causes stomach infection, pain, nausea and also bad breath.
You should visit your doctor if you feel you have a gallbladder problem.
Gastroparesis is a medical condition where there is damage to nerve or muscle of the stomach and slows down the rate of digestion of food. Causes of gastroparesis include diabetes, injury to the vagus nerve or idiopathic at times.
The slow rate of digestion is the primary cause of bad breath. When metabolism rate is slow, the bacteria in the stomach can produce more volatile sulfur compounds which result in bad breath as a symptom.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a disorder of the digestive system and causes both constipation and diarrhea along with abdominal pain and bad breath. Other symptoms of IBS include mucus in stool, burping, heartburn, and fever.
If you suffer from bad breath combined with the symptoms mentioned above, then you should see a doctor.
Home remedies to cure bad breath coming from the stomach
Diet modifications include
You can include a variety of foods in your diet to make a good balance between good and harmful bacteria in your stomach.
- Incorporate natural micronutrients like zinc and magnesium in your diet (eat spinach, flaxseeds, etc.).
- Eliminate sugar and carbohydrates from the diet. Instead of eating carbohydrates eat green leafy vegetables like spinach, parsley, zucchini, broccoli, etc.
- Herbs like cardamom, fennel, ginger can help improve digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive juices, bile, and pancreatic juice.
- Consume a sufficient amount of water and try to stay hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins from the body and also will help you feel fresh.
Incorporate lifestyle changes
Following changes in your lifestyle can help you deal with stomach problems that cause bad breath issue.
- Eat your meals 3 hours before going to sleep. Also do not lie down just after a meal.
- Instead of eating three heavy meals, eat smaller meals throughout the day to ease the digestion process.
- Quit smoking since smoking contributes to bad breath. Also, nicotine in cigarettes causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax causing acid reflux and bad breath.
- Chew sugar-free gum to freshen breath and reduce reflux problem.
- If you are overweight, then losing weight will help you with relief from symptoms like acid reflux and heartburn. Talk to your doctor and chalk out a diet chart and exercise plan.
Over to you
If you experience bad breath, then take it as a sign of an underlying disease if the breath doesn’t go away with regular brushing.
Visit a doctor immediately as your healthcare provider you can get to the root of the problem and eliminate bad breath along with the cause.
You can also bring in a change in your diet plan, such as include more probiotic foods, etc., and lifestyle to get rid of bad breath due to stomach problems.