Bad Breath after Weight Loss Surgery

Bad Breath after Weight Loss SurgeryBad breath is one of the most under-expected concerns that frequently develops after weight loss surgery. While it is not something that impacts every weight loss patient in the same way, it is something that should be recognized following your bariatric procedure.

There are several primary causes that can cause bad breath to develop following your bariatric procedure. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • The inability of food to exit the stomach pouch
  • Ketosis caused by rapid weight loss

While bad breath may not be as severe a health issue following surgery as other potential concerns, it is something that can interfere with your quality of life and general comfort level, and therefore is worth addressing. Luckily, bad breath is usually preventable or treatable by understanding the precise cause of the issue, and taking several basic preventative steps.

Understanding Bad Breath

Bad breath after weight loss surgery is most likely to happen following gastric bypass surgery. While it can still occur for some after Lap Band or gastric sleeve, it isn’t as common—which is good news.

Rapid weight loss can cause bad breath to occur, though the smell of ketotic breath isn’t always thought of as unpleasant. Ketotic breath refers to the release of ketones, which is the breakdown of stored fat in the body. This happens to anyone that loses weight, but is more noticeable after weight loss surgery because of how fast the weight comes off. Ketosis is not permanent, and can be easily addressed by making small changes to your diet, like increasing your protein intake. Of course, before you make any changes to your diet you should consult your weight loss surgeon.

One of the more common reasons people will experience bad breath is a result of dehydration. This can actually happen to anyone, it isn’t directly a result of weight loss surgery. The reason it is common after having a bariatric procedure is that many people inadvertently cut down on their fluid intake after surgery as a result of having to take smaller sips.

If you are noticing an increase in bad breath, take note of your daily water intake. You should try to drink about 64 ounces of water every day, which adds up to about 8 glasses at 8 ounces of water, each. If you are working out a lot, then you may need to increase this number.

Something that could pose an issue after Lap Band or gastric sleeve surgery is if food isn’t able to properly leave the stomach pouch. This would cause a build-up of digestive fluids like acid in the stomach pouch. If this happens, you are at an increased risk of acid reflux, which often comes in the shape of heartburn or regurgitation. This is also likely to cause bad breath. The main reason that food will become stuck in the pouch is poor eating habits. Eating foods that are not recommended after weight loss surgery, or eating too quickly, can cause this to happen.

If you are worried about bad breath, the best thing you can do is take action to prevent it. Drink plenty of fluids in between meals, follow your bariatric diet closely and keep up with your dental hygiene. If you are going to chew gum, make sure that it is sugar free.