Another common concern after weight loss surgery is bad breath. Bad breath can be a result of dehydration, food not emptying your pouch well, or the weight loss itself.
As with other common problems following weight loss surgery, bad breath may be prevented or resolved by making sure you’re getting adequate liquids. Women should drink at least 48 ounces of fluids a day and men should drink at least 64 ounces of fluids every day. This should be done regardless of whether or not you’re experiencing bad breath.
Another explanation for bad breath after weight loss surgery may be that the food you’re eating isn’t emptying out of the smaller stomach pouch quickly enough. A buildup of stomach acids in the pouch may trigger bad breath. Taking an over-the-counter antacid may help in these instances.
While weight loss itself may not necessarily cause bad breath, it can lead to a change in your breath’s odor. As you lose weight and your body breaks down the stored fat, by-products called ketones form. These ketones are partially exhaled and can cause what’s known as ketotic breath. While ketotic breath may be disturbing to some people, others describe it as a sweet-smelling odor similar to the smell of Juicy Fruit gum. Adding more protein to your diet may help reduce the effects of ketotic breath without interfering with your weight loss, although some experts actually advise adding a few carbohydrates to your diet to fight ketotic breath.
Tips for dealing with bad breath after weight loss surgery:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Brush and floss after every meal—liquid or solid. Take special care to brush your tongue, as bacteria and food particles can build up on the surface.
- Chew sugar-free gum, which stimulates the production of odor-fighting saliva.
- Try cinnamon-flavored gums. Some research suggests that an ingredient in cinnamon gum may decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
- Use a water pick to more thoroughly clean out food particles.
- Visit a dentist to rule out gum disease or tooth decay as an underlying cause of your bad breath.
In rare cases, continued bad breath can be a sign of another underlying health problem such as infection, kidney failure, or liver failure. If getting plenty of water every day and being very thorough with your oral hygiene does not resolve your bad breath issues, contact your doctor.