I Have Acid Reflux and Bad Breath! Is One Causing the Other?

There does seem to be a possible link between acid reflux and bad breath. Halitosis can either be related to, or a direct result of acid reflux/GERD.

Medical and naturopathic professionals will tell you that bad breath is attributable to what you eat, lack of saliva swishing around in your mouth, anxiety, lack of fluids and stomach activity, i.e. acid indigestion. In addition to these things, most analysts speaking on bad breath list acid reflux as a key cause.

Acid reflux and bad breath is a common condition in which the liquid contents of stomach rise up into the esophagus. This occurs because the valve separating the contents of the stomach from the esophagus does not function properly.

Acid reflux is also called GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). This is a chronic condition. Certain conditions, such as pregnancy, make a person susceptible to acid reflux.

Dentist Dr. Stuart Wade says, “It’s not clear that there’s a direct correlation between acid reflux and bad breath, but it stands to reason given the complexities of a digestive disorder.”

The stomach juices that splash up into your esophagus can get into your mouth and give it a fetid odor. Getting your acid reflux under control and practicing good hygiene can slash your likelihood of halitosis and improve your general dental health.

The problem of acid reflux may lead to more serious medical conditions. Eventually, acid reflux can even wear away the inside layer of your esophagus. However, it is treatable and you should ask your doctor what treatments are available and right for you.

Prescription medications such as Nexium offer relief from your agonizing acid reflux symptoms and they can repair erosions in the esophagus that the disease may cause.

Unfortunately, the proton pump inhibitor, a common prescription medicine used to treat heartburn and acid reflux disease, was linked to halitosis in a study presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Doctors at UNIFESP in Sao Paulo, Brazil, examined 23 adult patients with GERD and 17 with dyspepsia in May 2006 to ascertain the relationship between halitosis and acid reflux. The results showed that 39 percent of the GERD patients suffered from halitosis and that treatment with a proton pump inhibitor was deemed a factor in at least 75 percent of the cases.

A fairly effective home technique for spotting the presence of bad breath is to lick the back of the wrist, let the saliva dry for a minute or two, and smell the result.

Lightly scraping the posterior of the tongue with a tongue scraper or dental floss and smelling the dried residue is another way. A family member or close friend may be willing to smell your breath and provide honest feedback.