Could Your Bad Breath Be Caused by Acid Reflux?

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Almost everyone has bad breath, (a.k.a. halitosis) once in awhile. In fact, about 25 percent of people report they have bad breath and while conditions of the mouth are responsible for most cases, there is clear evidence for an association between bad breath and acid reflux disease (Sturch, et al., 2007).  Some even say that bad breath is a frequent symptom of GERD (Moshkowitz, 2007).


    The way to find out if you have bad breath as a result of acid reflux disease is to discuss your condition with both your dentist and your primary care provider. Your dentist will help you to rule out any dental disease and your primary care provider will either be able to help you confirm your suspension of acid reflux disease or send you to a gastroenterologist who will be able to help you. If it is confirmed that you have acid reflux disease, you may be asked to modify your diet and/or be put on acid reflux medication. Both of these treatments may take a week or two to improve your reflux.  

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    The only way to get rid of bad breath completely if it is associated with acid reflux disease is to treat the acid reflux. However, if in the meantime your bad breath is bothering you and making you feel socially uncomfortable, you can drink plenty of water and chew gum because both can help to clear acid from the mouth. You can also brush your teeth more frequently and use mouthwash to help freshen your breath. If you are a smoker, be sure to stop smoking as soon as possible since smoking can not only cause bad breath but can also worsen acid reflux disease.


    (Sturch was reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and Moshkowitz was reported in Oral Diseases).


Published On: March 14, 2014