Halitosis and Lactose Intolerance

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Lactose Intolerance and Halitosis

written by: Victoria Trix • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 11/4/2009

Lactose intolerance and halitosis are commonly seen together, as bad breath (halitosis) is caused by bacteria that live inside the tongue and throat’s surfaces. These bacteria are dietary aids that help in digestion. Bacteria break down quickly, and since they are full of sulfur, bad breath abounds.

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    Lactose Intolerance

    Being lactose intolerant means that the body is not able to digest most dairy products, which is commonly found in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The intolerance is to a milk sugar known as lactose, which is common in many people. This can be treated by simply avoiding dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, bread and yeast. When the body is not able to digest the lactose in dairy products, it means that the body does not have enough lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose in the small intestine. This enzyme is known to break down the sugars so the blood is able to absorb and use them, but if there is not enough lactase, symptoms will be seen.

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    Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance and Halitosis

    milk Symptoms of lactose intolerance and halitosis are normally seen between half hour and 2 hours after consuming a dairy product. These symptoms include nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramps. How severe the symptoms are will depend on the amount of lactose that was eaten. Causes of lactose intolerance include injuries to the small intestine, digestive disorders and even the inability to produce lactase. This is normally a deficiency that is acquired over time, as over 30 million people are considered lactose intolerant.

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    Lactose Intolerance Testing

    Many people with bad breath are simply thought to have bad hygiene, when in fact most suffer from some type of digestion disorder. When a patient ingests lactose, the gastric disorders like nausea and cramps begin due to the bacteria in the GI tract trying to ingest the lactose-laden foods. These begin to work and cause a fermentation process to begin, where a foul gas is created and exhaled through the lungs. Hydrogen breath tests are done on those who are lactose intolerant, and it has been found that those without lactose intolerance have low levels of hydrogen in their breath. Those who are intolerant to lactose have a much higher than normal amount of hydrogen present in the breath, meaning that the lactose is not being broken down in the intestines correctly.

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