The scientific name for bad breath is halitosis and the biggest culprits for creating this malady are onions and garlic.  This is not only due to their strong aroma, but because they both contain sulfuric compounds that get absorbed into your bloodstream, enabling a secondary odiferous wave to reach your lungs, where it eventually escapes through your mouth. So, not only do you have a strong aftertaste where mouthwash or mints fail miserably to rid your mouth of the odor, but, in the case of garlic, once it is absorbed it continues to emit a bitter scent from your pores.  Many people simply use garlic to enhance their food and others take garlic pills for their antioxidant powers and to help thwart heart disease and cancer.

Bad breath can also be caused by aromatic spices, stinky sausages and ethnic foods that will leave you with dragon breath; even red wine can be problematic, leaving you with a pungent odor in your mouth.  But, bad breath from ingesting certain food or drink generally goes away in a day or two, whereas bad breath which is continual and cannot be masked by mints or mouthwash, is of special concern.  Your first stop as you play detective to uncover the source of the bad breath is to see a dentist to determine if you have gum disease, or perhaps, a decaying tooth.  If that is not the reason, the next stop is an ear, nose and throat specialist (or ENT) to see if tonsillitis or a sinus condition might be the culprit.  A dentist in Maplewood NJ can do diagnostic tests to locate the cause of your bad breath. If there are no issues determined by either specialist,  then you must delve further to determine the cause of the problem which may be “stomach breath”.

What is stomach breath?

Ongoing bad breath, which cannot be pinpointed by using any of the above triggers, may be the result of gastrointestinal issues.  Usually by time that you have the big burps emitting bad breath of epic proportions, it is concurrent with a GI issue.  The severity of the gastrointestinal issues may finally send you to the doctor’s office, most likely in severe pain or some minor discomfort.  In most cases, once the GI issue is resolved, likewise the bad breath will abate or cease altogether.

Stomach ailments that cause bad breath

Topping the list as to severity would be gastric carcinoma, or stomach cancer.  But, the most common reason would be gastroesophageal reflux disease (often called GERD) and this encompasses acid reflux and heartburn.  The slow burn in the esophagus and the burping up go hand in hand.  Stomach acid that causes burp back, especially if you are able to taste it, generally comes with bad breath.  Even flatulence (gas) will cause you to burp or belch and stomach acid will be part of that uncomfortable experience.
A newer theory that has surfaced to explain away the side effects of digestive issues is called “leaky gut syndrome”.   Supposedly, the lingering bad breath you suffer simultaneously with a gastrointestinal affliction is usually fixable.  A battery of diagnostic tests usually pinpoints the problem and thus gives the official medical reason for the offensive breath.  But, sometimes all the medical diagnostic tools available still cannot pinpoint the problem.  Thus, more and more the concept of “leaky gut syndrome” comes into play.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome is a concept that has become a type of “catchall” for determining gastrointestinal issues.  It is believed that leaky gut syndrome originates in your small intestine.  The small intestine is important to your digestive system because this is where most of the vitamins and minerals which are in the foods you eat are absorbed there.  The small intestine contains microscopic pores which help to absorb these vitamins and minerals so that the nutrients can be transferred into the bloodstream.  Once this transfer is accomplished the valuable nutrients are then transported around the body by the bloodstream.

The small intestine has a brain of sorts in that it is semi permeable, but only permits certain items to enter the bloodstream and blocks other items, i.e. nutrients get the “go ahead” but toxins or large indigested food particles are blocked.   With leaky gut syndrome, however, the pores in your intestine eventually widen, causing toxins and indigested food particles, which were supposed to be held back, to enter your bloodstream.  The result of these wayward toxins causes the immune system to rebel, and this pushback often results in allergies.

There are a few different ways you can develop leaky gut.  For example, chronic constipation will eventually cause the toxins in your stool to irritate the lining of your intestines.  This irritation will lead to inflammation and the pores in the small intestine will expand.  If this irritation and inflammation are allow to continue for a long time, it eventually may lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or colitis.

The other common cause of leaky gut is an imbalance of the gut flora .  Since both good and bad bacteria thrive in our digestive system, we want to keep the good bacteria there and banish the bad bacteria.  By eating probiotics or using probiotic capsules or powders, we strive to keep the gut flora in balance.  When bad bacteria gets the upper hand, the pores of the intestine widen and cause the domino effect of gastric distress and then the typical issues of burping up stomach acids resulting in bad breath.