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What is the link between Acid Reflux and bad breath?

acid refluxAre you suffering from bad breath even after brushing and flossing? Are you sucking constantly on fresh breath mints with no improvement for that bad breath? Maybe it’s time to start looking for the cause of your bad breath in other areas and not just in your mouth. One of the causes for your bad breath could be acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is also known as GERD.

The food does not move efficiently out of some peoples stomachs. When the food stays in the stomach it will start to decay and this will contribute towards bad breath and acid reflux. Other people who have acid reflux will actually regurgitate small amounts of undigested food and this can cause bad breath.

Can a dentist help with bad breath reflux?

Firstly to rule out all other bad breath causes such as periodontal disease, poor oral care as well as bacteria on the tongue, you will need to go and see your dentist. If these sources of bad breath are not the culprit for the bad breath you are experiencing, your dentist will then start to investigate the situation further. He will look if there is any connection between GERD and your bad breath. He will probably test for any other medical symptoms that could cause bad breath as well.

The most common symptoms of acid reflux are acid reflux and getting heartburn regularly. You could however also have atypical or “silent” acid reflux, that show none of the usual symptoms of acid reflux. The symptoms for silent acid reflux could include a bad taste in the mouth, having chest pains, coughing, hoarseness as well as tooth decay.

You might be unaware that you have acid reflux, but your dentist will be able to tell just by looking in your mouth and throat. It is common for people suffering with acid reflux to experience acid erosion of their teeth and also inflamed throats, particularly in the tonsil area. Other symptoms include irritation on the tongue and gums, as well as developing a sour smelling breath.

Once the dentist suspects that your bad breath is linked to acid reflux he/she will suggest that you visit your doctor or a gastroenterologist for further diagnoses and the proper treatment. If you do not treat the GERD condition the bad breath will not go away.

How is acid reflux and bad breath reflux treated?

To be able to diagnose acid reflux the doctor will get a detailed description of you symptoms. Your doctor will even start you on medication whether over the counter or prescribed, to see if the symptoms improve.

Beside the medications, the doctor might also suggest a lifestyle change. The doctor will suggest that you avoid any fatty and spicy foods, alcohol and having big meals, especially just before bedtime. By taking the medications, and by changing your eating habits and lifestyle, it will be able to keep reflux under control.

Although this is not usually done, doctors will at times do a PH probe study to diagnose acid reflux. The PH probe study is a process whereby a thin tube is placed through the nose and deep into the esophagus. A monitor is attached to the tube and this then measures how much acid travels up from the stomach and into the esophagus in a certain amount of time. If it is acid reflux, the amount of reflux will be above a certain percentage. Once this has been determined the doctors will then decide on the best course of treatment.

The bad breath associated with reflux could take a week or even longer to disappear, depending on the adjustment of doses to treat the reflux.

In the mean time you could try drinking plenty of water and chewing on sugar free gum because this stimulates the saliva production which will clear the acid from the mouth. It is extremely important to give up smoking, as it contributes considerably towards acid reflux symptoms and the smoker’s breath. If you stick to the advice that your doctors have given you, you will be able to eliminate the bad breath reflux for good.

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