Q. I have seen some questions in your column regarding bad breath. I’d like to share my personal experience. I used to have bad breath and had seen my dentist and my doctor about it, but found no solution until I discovered that my lactose intolerance was causing the problem.
On a two-week trip overseas several years ago, I happened to consume no milk. I felt better than I ever had in my life, and did not worry about my breath.
When I got home, I started consuming milk as usual and the problem returned. Avoiding dairy products solved the problem.
A. Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest milk sugar. Symptoms often include gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. We have not been able to find studies linking bad breath to lactose intolerance in the medical literature. Nevertheless, we congratulate you on finding a simple solution to your problem.
There is a hydrogen breath test for lactose intolerance. People who suspect that their digestive woes are caused by dairy products can request it from a physician. There are also lactase pills (Lactaid, house brands) that help break down milk sugar to reduce symptoms.