Good To Nose Baraka Blog

Bad Breath? How Your Sinuses May Contribute

Written By: Sue
August 12, 2015

goatBrush your Teeth & Flush your Sinuses

Have you ever been told you have bad breath? It’s not only embarrassing, but frustrating if you can’t discover the source of the problem. Most people assume that bad breath comes from not brushing or flossing the teeth, but the truth is more complicated than that. There are many sources that cause bad breath including the stomach, lungs, tonsils, teeth and yes- the sinuses. Since Baraka is all about maintaining healthy sinuses, I will delve into this.

Healthy sinuses are hollow cavities in our head which contain only air (4 pairs of them to be exact). If the sinuses become infected not only can they create sinus congestion, but they can release nasal discharge into the back of the throat. This post-nasal drip then feeds the bacteria that already lives there. In small numbers, this bacteria is in normal balance with the body, but once it is repeatedly exposed to post-nasal drip, it propagates. In large numbers, the bacteria can release a noxious smell thus causing bad breath.

How do you push back the overabundant bacteria?

The most obvious answer is to stop the post-nasal drip which can be caused by a number of reasons. If you’ve had this problem a while and you don’t have a cold, it could be an allergy or lingering sinus infection. (See these blogs for ideas: Food & Sinus Congestion & Does Pollen Count with Sinus Allergies?).

While you are searching for remedies to stop the post-nasal drip, you can flush out the overabundant bacteria with salt water by gargling. This will keep the bacteria from collecting at the back of your throat. I also suggest rinsing your nose with salt water- even if you don’t have sinus congestion. Not only will a saline solution wash away excess bacteria, but it will temporarily alkalinize or increase the pH in your mouth -which deters bacterial proliferation, as most species prefer acidic environments.

There are two salt water rinses you can make for nasal rinsing and gargling. One is called an isotonic rinse and the other is called a hypertonic rinse. Do this a few times to see if it improves your breath.

On a final note, if you are trying to verify that you have bad breath by exhaling into your own cupped hands, forget it. You won’t really be able to detect what others are smelling for a good reason. Our olfactory nerves are sensitive and if they are constantly registering all smells all the time, it wouldn’t be pleasant. In other words, when a smell persists, your smell receptors turn themselves off. Imagine the perfume or cologne you applied in the morning. You might get comments on it throughout the day, but you can’t really smell it any more. Also, if you have sinus congestion, your nose is limited in what it can smell. So, on a final note, don’t try to be the judge of your own breath. Ask a friend!

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