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Digestive disorders may cause a bad odor in your mouth

Bad breath doesn't always come from oral sources. In fact, issues in other areas of your body can sometimes make your breath have an unpleasant oral odor, such as acid reflux or bowel problems. Although these forms of bad breath are much less common than the forms created by poor oral hygiene or dry mouth, it does affect some people chronically.

Bad breath is not necessarily caused by poor digestion, but it can sometimes indicate the presence of a digestive issue. For example, some people are actually born with a rare defect in a pouch in their esophagus. This pouch-the Zenker diverticulum-can be misshapen and can collect food particles, which decompose and release a foul odor whenever you speak or exhale. Those who suffer from this birth defect often experience regurgitation of undigested food when lying down or bending over, in addition to suffering from the effects of bad breath.

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also prompt bad breath. In this chronic digestive condition, stomach acid and contents push up into the esophagus and lower throat, causing heartburn, esophageal damage, and bad breath. Alternatively, elevated amounts of gut bacteria may cause digestive discomfort and bad breath, especially after eating sugary foods. This is due to yeast and candida in the gut feeding on ingested sugars. To prevent this overgrowth, some doctors suggest eating probiotics and fiber regularly to cleanse your digestive system.

To treat bad breath caused by digestive issues, speak to your doctor and your dentist about your concerns. Your doctor may recommend you to a gastroenterologist or other specialist, and your dentist can assist you in combating bad breath and maintaining an effective oral-hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash as needed. You might also consider adjusting your diet to avoid acidic foods and drinks, as these can irritate a sensitive digestive system and cause additional oral problems.

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