Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Does My Breath Get Better After Taking Antibiotics?

From time to time patients will ask us why their halitosis condition improved while

taking antibiotics for an infection. This phenomenon is not uncommon and there are

good reasons why it occurs. When taking an antibiotic it is important to understand

that the effect of the antibiotic will not be localized to the area where the infection

is. Antibiotics will travel throughout your entire body via your blood stream and

affect bacteria throughout your entire body. If you are taking an antibiotic that is

effectve against gram (-) anaerobic bacteria, which are the ones that produce

halitosis odors, then anywhere in the body where this type of bacteria exist will

experience a significant drop in numbers.

A good example is someone might have been taking an antibiotic for a sinus

infection and at the same time notice that their halitosis condition improved or even

went away while using the antibiotics. One of the common myths we hear is that a

bacteria called  H. Pylori, which is found in the stomach and is responsible for stomach

ulcers, is the cause of halitosis. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What happens is

the individual is given antibiotics to eliminate the H. Pylori and heal the ulcer but at the

same time they also find that their halitosis is eliminated. The logic is that since the H. Pylori

were eliminated as well as their breath condition, then the H. Pylori bacteria must

have been the cause of their halitosis. In reality what was happening was the

antibiotic being used against the H. Pylori was also effective against the halitosis

causing bacteria, and while the H. Pylori were being killed off so were the gram (-)

anaerobic bacteria in their mouth that were producing their breath problem.

About the author: Dr. Anthony Dailley is a practicing general dentist in Berkeley California. He has been practicing since 1981 and graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Cell & Molecular Biology, and obtained his dental degree from the Pacific School of Dentistry. Dr. Dailley also holds a fellowship position with the International Congress of Oral Implantologist (ICOI). Dr. Dailley has also been a founder in a biotech company called NovaBay Pharmaceuticals and was a member of their board of directors from 1997 -2014.