Can the stomach cause halitosis? 2018-03-28T10:03:30+00:00


Top 13 most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).

Dr Jonas Nunes, recognised expert in halitosis and Director of the Breath Institute, answers the most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).

05. Can the stomach cause halitosis?

There is a widespread belief that one of the common causes of halitosis originates in the stomach. This simply is not true (it is not one of the most common causes). The latest reports published by clinical centres in Europe show that the percentage of patients with this type of halitosis does not usually exceed 3% of the total number of patients seeking treatment.

Nevertheless, halitosis that originates in the stomach is not a figment of the imagination, although certain brands of mouthwash would have us believe otherwise by promoting this mistaken idea to sell their products. Halitosis originating in the stomach does exist and is often detected in clinics. That said, the percentage of such cases is not as high as what is traditionally believed, or not as high as one may think when considering that some 30% of the population show signs of some type of gastric illness. However, it has been demonstrated that certain strains of the stomach bacteria Helicobacter pylori can produce volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), and that various gastric and digestive diseases can predispose a person to halitosis.

It has been demonstrated that some strains of the stomach bacteria Helicobacter pylori can produce volatile sulphur compounds“.

Some of the above-mentioned cases that we have seen at the Breath Institute (and that have been compared against scientific studies published by other centres) include gastritis; ulcers; hiatal hernias; gastroesophageal reflux; Zenker’s diverticulum; inflammatory bowel disease; presences of foreign bodies in the pharynx; and neoplasms in the digestive tract. As this a question frequently asked by patients, I would like to point out that digestive endoscopy should not be performed a standard test for diagnosing halitosis (it is much less accurate than gas chromatography).

Gas chromatography is the test of choice and although a halitosis sufferer may have some type of digestive disease, the origin of halitosis is often elsewhere (e.g. in the ears, nose or throat (otolaryngological)). However, when there is an associated digestive symptom, a digestive endoscopy can be useful in the diagnosis of some of the diseases previously described.

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Know your Breath.

Did you know that you can suffer from bad breath without realising it? Many people suffer from halitosis (bad breath) on a regular basis, regardless of gender, age or social class.  Furthermore, halitosis can have a profound impact on self-esteem, and can even result in discrimination and social exclusion.

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