Acid Reflux is a burning sensation traveling through your throat and down your oesophagus. It is medically defined as a burning type of indigestion, or cough lasting longer than a week with associated chest pain (in the epi-gastric region). An additional discomfort you may experience is contant bad breath. With some lifestyle changes and good management of your Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) you can be relieved of these discomforts.
So what exactly is Acid Reflux ? It is a condition that is caused by stomach contents going the wrong way (up) you food pipe (oesophagus), causing a burning feeling. This is most commonly cause by the lower oesophageal sphincter not working properly. When functioning properly, it opens to let food through and then closes to prevent it from coming back up. So if it malfunctions, your stomach contents, including bile, have the ability to come back up the oesophagus, creating a burning sensation.
There are ways we can help prevent this and aide in our breath smelling a little fresher.
- Along with many other health risks, Smoking can worsen the function of our Oesophageal sphincter, thus worsening our breath. So quit smoking already!
- Try not to lay down too soon after eating – allow a good couple of hours for your food to digest properly in a upright position.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently
- Avoid tight clothes around the abdomen to decrease the pressure on your stomach
- Place a board under the head of your bed to create an incline and reduce the pressure on your oesophageal sphincter.
Modifying the way you eat along with which foods you eat can help GORD symptoms and bad breath. Many of the foods that aggravate acid reflux are also breath-killers.
Avoiding these items can kill two birds with one stone:
- alcoholic beverages
- caffeinated beverages
- onions and garlic
There are known foods to avoid when you suffer GORD symptoms such as:
- citrus fruits and juices
- tomato products
- fast foods especially fried
Foods that you should specifically include in your diet are those high in fiber such as: whole grains, beans and vegetables. Not only do they aide reflux but they also help you feel fuller for longer, allowing us to better control our intake.
Make sure to drink water throughout the day to help keep our breath fresh and our bodies hydrated. Still-water is always a better choice than carbonated water for those who suffer from GORD.
There are a number of medications that can help reduce the symptoms of GORD. These include Antacids (such as mylanta, gastrogel), Proton Pump Inhibitors and histamine blockers. If you are unsure and need further advice, be sure to consult your general practitioner. Antacids often have a minty-like taste which can also tackle the issue of bad breath at the same time.