Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that’s found in the stomach of 40% of the population.
This infection is most commonly associated with stomach ulcers but it has also been linked to bad breath. A study from the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth found that getting rid of helicobacter pylori with antibiotics reduced halitosis dramatically in the people who had the bacteria and bad breath.
Helicobacter pylori produces sulphur compounds and ammonia that alter the smell of the breath. The way that the smell ends up in the mouth and breath is through acid reflux. If the reflux contains this bacteria this changes the smell of the breath. If you are suffering from heartburn, a hoarse voice or are regurgitating your food then ask your doctor to test for this bacteria.
Testing for H. Pylori Infection
If your Doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by this bacteria they may recommend one of the following tests:
- Urea Breath Test – you will be given a special drink and then your breath is analysed to see whether or not you have H. Pylori.
- Stool Antigen Test – a stool sample is taken and tested for the bacteria.
- Blood Test – A sample of your blood is tested for antibodies to the H. Pylori bacteria but this test is less popular now as the Stool Antigen Test is more commonly used.
What Happens If I test Positive for H. Pylori?
The infection will need to be cleared and the ulcer healed. If your stomach ulcer is caused by this bacteria then you will be given a course of antibiotics. To see if you have a stomach ulcer, you may be referred for a gastroscopy to look inside your stomach directly.
For more information please contact your GP.
Anything that dehydrates the mouth will increase the risk of bad breath as saliva helps wash away odour-causing bacteria or cells. That’s why mouth odour is worse in the morning because saliva flow has been reduced during the night. Bad breath is more common in those who breathe through the mouth too.
Talking a lot is another cause of bad breath, it exposes the mouth to air, drying out saliva. Those in professions that are more vocal such as teachers, lawyers and people working in call centres are prone to suffering from bad mouth odour.
There is a simple solution, you can just sip water throughout the day to keep the mouth moist. This provides more favourable conditions that will help slow down the growth of bad bacteria.
Saliva flow is reduced as we get older and bad breath often gets worse with age. Your doctor can prescribe you sprays or lozenges to help promote saliva flow.
Keeping the mouth moist with sipping water and using a mouthwash like ProFresh that kills bad bacteria can help anyone suffering from bad breath. We would recommend those in the above mentioned professions keep the ProFresh Quick Spray to hand during the day as well as a bottle of water to sip from.