All you Need to Know About Internal Bad Breath

Chronic sinus infection

There are various causes of bad breath. The most common type of halitosis is usually caused by poor dental hygiene. However, in the event of chronic bad breath, the cause of halitosis might be more than dental hygiene; it might be an internal cause.

Internal causes of bad breath are the worst, and not because they are hard to detect and address, the stink, quite frankly. Think of someone burping over your face, then you will agree with me no more. While most of the internal causes of bad breath are gastrointestinal in nature, the are several other causes that contribute to this fetid breath.

In this article, we look at some of the internal conditions that result in bad breath, and how we can effectively combat them to avoid those embarrassing moments (apart from using bad breath medicine).

Food Selection

Dinner party

If you actively maintain your oral health-by religiously brushing your teeth, scraping your tongue and flossing your teeth, your halitosis might be caused by the diet you take.

While we are all aware that what we eat is definitely going to linger in our mouths, many of us do not understand that some of the foods we eat actually get into our internal system.

Let`s look at some of the common culprits.

Garlic and onions

This is the most common type of diet leading to halitosis. While it`s mostly manifested through the mouth, Lisa Harper, an associate professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of  Dentistry points out that the Sulphur compounds produced by garlic and onions not only linger in your mouth, but they are also absorbed in the bloodstream and expelled when you exhale, thus a fetid breath even after thorough oral cleaning.


Alcohol does not only cause Xerostomia, but it`s a highly diuretic substance, meaning it`s readily absorbed into the bloodstream. With the absorption of alcohol, alcoholics are prone to produce booze breath that emanates from their bodies through sweat. Find out more about alcohol and bad breath.

Dense Protein Foods

While protein-rich foods such as dairy products and meat are necessary or bone formation and growth, Therabreath points out that these products usually produce a lot of VSC excretions once broken down by anaerobic bacteria.

Halitosis caused by protein breakdown is even greater to lactose intolerant people because there`s greater build-up of proteins, hence the VSCs.

Gerd (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) / Acid Reflux

Acid as cause of bad breath

Chronic acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a medical condition that results in the backward flow of stomach contents such as undigested foods, bile, stomach contents into your esophagus.

In most cases, GERD is caused by the relaxation or a faulty lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a valve-like muscle that acts as a barrier between your esophagus and stomach and is responsible for ensuring that the stomach contents are not regurgitated. When functional, it opens allowing you to swallow food into the stomach, and then closes tightly. However, when faulty, it remains open, allowing acids and other acid content to flow backward.

So how does acid reflux cause an internal breath? Let`s look at the three main ways.

  • First, it allows the movement of both undigested and digested food particles, bile, and other stomach content into your esophagus, while results to the exhalation of a fetid breath.
  • Secondly, GERD triggers the formation of mucus from your nose running through the sinuses to the back of the throat, which consequently contributes to internal bad breath.
  • Finally, GERD leads to the damage of the sensitive esophagus lining, thus exposing the tract to bacterial infection, which may contribute to bad breath.

Bowel Obstruction and Constipation

liquids against bad breath

This sounds silly,  but if your breath smells like feces, it might either be caused by bowel obstruction or constipation.

According to Dental Health Press, 25% of the internal bad breath is caused by constipation.

Constipation causes internal bad breath in two main ways;

  • First, constipation is associated with slow food movement, also known as food retention or stagnation. This is when food within your gut does not move fast and effortlessly. This food stagnation usually generates heat with the gut and creates an ideal environment for bacteria to feed on the food and multiply. An overgrowth of bacteria in the gut results in an array of issues such as abdominal pain, heartburn, and bad breath.
  • The second cause may be attributed to the polluted environment that undigested food causes when it is in the stomach for long. This environment is not ideal for the good bacteria and allows an incredible overgrowth of the toxic and harmful bacteria which can lead to bad breath.
  • Finally, constipation means that there`s no digestion of food. With time, the ingested food particles begin to decay and rot, and this results in bad breath forming from your gut.

To avoid internal bad breath due to constipation, Dr. Steven Lin recommends that you limit your passive lifestyle, and engage in exercise, reduce fat intake, drink plenty of water and increase your intake of fiber.

Microbial Overgrowth

Bacteria which cause bad breath

If you are experiencing burping, flatulence, bloating, cramping and fatigue, then SIBO OR Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth might be likely cause of your bad breath.

See, our gut system is filled with trillion of bacteria that are responsible for digestion and nutrient intake. However, if there is an overpopulation the same bacteria within the body, they may result in a myriad of issues such as bad breath.

Playing host to an overgrowth of bacteria often triggers the release of an elevated amount of gases, which leads to bad breath.

The overgrowth of some bacteria, such as candida, which is responsible for producing the Sulphur compound is particularly responsible for the bad breath.

Pylori Infections

Pylori is a bacteria that exists within our normal gut system and is one of the most common causes of bad breath from the digestive system. While it exists within your normal gut microbiota, it can wreak havoc in case of microbial imbalances.

According to Science Daily, this bacteria is associated with several digestive infections such as ulcers, including the stomach and duodenal ulcers.

The colonization of the H. Pylori bacteria often leads to inflammation of the digestive lining, periodontal infections, and bad breath.

To avoid the effects of this bacteria, health experts recommend increasing the standards of hygiene, and steering away from crowded places.

Crohn’s Disease and Celiac Disease

Aside from ulcers, other digestive infections that may contribute to internal bad breath are Crohn’s Disease and Celiac Disease.

Both diseases limit the digestion of food. Malabsorption provides more of the undigested food for the Sulphur-reducing bacteria to break down. Malabsorption generates more o the hydrogen sulfide, which results in in smelly burps and bad breath.

Gallbladder problems and bad breath

The gallbladder is responsible for producing digestive juices, which are then used for fat absorption. However, in the event of gallbladder dysfunction, which is often associated with the buildup of mineral stones, the bile ducts can become blocked.

This can not only lead to incessant burping that can cause bad breath but also vomiting, nauseating and pain.

Issues with the gallbladder are serious, and you should seek medical attention if you experience such symptoms.

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