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What Causes Bad Breath After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?


Have you or someone you know undergone a gastric sleeve procedure? If so, you need to understand the road to recovery in the first few weeks comes with a few challenges, including one common one: halitosis or bad breath. Luckily, this side effect doesn’t last that long. So, what causes bad breath after bariatric surgery?

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

When undergoing a gastric sleeve, a large part of the stomach is removed, and in turn, there is less space for the food to go through the digestive tract. It must travel quite slowly and sometimes gets stuck in the process, leading to acid buildup in the stomach. The more the acid flows back and up into the mouth, the more it causes bad breath.

There is good news about this, however. It is treatable and is only a minor side effect that goes away after some time. There are prescription drugs you can take to reduce the condition, and luckily, the more you recover, the more your body gets used to the new stomach and finds natural ways to avoid acid reflux.


The state of ketosis in your body, which happens when the body opts to burn fat instead of glucose, changes after bariatric surgery. This is one of the wins of the procedure because it helps you drastically lose weight. However, in the process, the body releases ketones containing acetone as a by-product, an element known to have a fruity smell that can be considered foul.


Many patients suffer from bad breath after gastric sleeve surgery due to dehydration. You may forget to drink water because of your diet changes; you feel full faster and only intake small amounts of water. When this happens, it is challenging to rinse away bacteria, leaving the odor in your mouth.

Fortunately, a few tips help reduce the chances of bad breath after your surgery.

  1. Maintain drinking the recommended eight glasses of water throughout the day in spaced-out amounts.
  2. Avoid eating acidic meals and fizzy drinks, and have antacid tablets around.
  3. Brush and floss your teeth after every meal, and clean your tongue.
  4. Chew sugar-free gum throughout the day to help produce saliva to fight off bacteria in your mouth.

Read More: Is It Okay To Chew Gum After Bariatric Surgery?

Contact an Expert for Your Bariatric Surgery

When you have a trusted team of NYC bariatric surgery experts from Lenox Hill Hospital on your side, you never have to worry about side effects of the procedure, like bad breath. You have experts to guide you through surgery preparation, the surgery, and recovery.