There’s a wide range of factors that can lead to halitosis. One rare condition that leads to bad breath is post nasal drip. Before we even learn how post nasal drip can result in bad breath, it`s vital that we have a rudimentary understanding of what post nasal drip is.
Your body glands and cells lining the sinus passages make mucous all day. The main function of the mucous is to trap the tiny particles, dust, and allergens and stop them filtering into our breathing system, and this is why it`s thick and sticky. Another major function of the mucous is to moisten and clean the nasal passage.
Your body is designed to clear excess mucus from your nose. In most cases, it mixes with your saliva and drips harmlessly down your throat, where you swallow it without even noticing.
However, certain conditions make the nasal mucusa to generate excessive mucous, which is more noticeable. The excess mucous accumulates in the throat or at the back of the nose, and it causes a sensation of dripping from the back of the nose. This sensation is referred as Post Nasal Drip.
The term “post” in post nasal drip refers to the “back of” or “behind” your throat.
When there`s an exponential production of mucous, you`re likely to experience swelling of the sinus lining, bleeding, polyps, and irritation.
According to WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/allergies/postnasal-drip#1), some of the major causes of post nasal drip include;
- Respiratory infections
- Allergens such as pollen.
Post-Nasal Drip and Bad Breath
While post nasal drip is certainly bothersome, it does not result in bad breath alone, since mucous is odorless-this is according to Mayo Clinic (https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/postnasal-drip-not-usually-related-to-bad-breath/).
However, with that said, the flow of mucous from the nasal passages and the sinuses, invariably contains food particles which would then nourish the odor-causing bacteria. The constant supply of food in the posterior of the tongue, which happens to be a localized home for anaerobic bacteria, is responsible for the bad breath.
The anaerobic bacteria do not need oxygen to function effectively. When the protein content present in the mucous comes into contact with the anaerobic bacteria, it`s broken down to produce sulfur compounds, which are responsible for the odor.
Halitosis and Tonsillitis
When the dead cells, broken food particles, bacteria, sulfur compounds and mucous accumulate in the tonsil cells, a condition known as tonsil stones (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315026.php), appear. When you`ve tonsil stones, the debris and dirt in your throatturns into a hard substance, which provides a conducive environment for the bacteria to thrive.
One of the major symptoms of tonsil stones is a bad odor since they provide a home for anaerobic bacteria, which produces foul-smelling sulfides.
Bad Breath and Sinusitis
Sinuses are spaces filled with air in the skull, and they`re located in the nasal bones, in the forehead, cheeks, and eyes. Healthy sinuses do not contain bacteria or any other particles aside from air. In most cases, mucous drains any debris from the sinuses.
However, in case of a post nasal drip, the sinus opening can get blocked due to too much mucous. With the mucous present in the sinus, dirt, bacteria and other germs collects and grow more easily and can lead to the smelly odor.
Another possible reason of smelly odor related to sinus is the fact that blocked sinus can lead to a chronically stuffy nose, which causes you to breathe through the mouth consistently. Breathing with your mouth dries saliva, a natural cleanser, which removes odor-causing bacteria, and food particles in your mouth.
Bad breath can be also connected with other diseases, such as acid reflux.
Management of Bad Breath Due to Post Nasal Drip
The first step to managing bad breath due to post nasal drip is to avoid the post nasal triggers. Even though post nasal drip is unavoidable, you can minimize your exposure to common triggers such as;
- Inhaled triggers such as dust, pollen, and allergens
- Avoid allergic foods as they thicken the mucus and inhibit drainage
- Try to avoid too much of dairy products such as milk, cheese, soy and yogurt as they are known to thicken mucus and inhibit its drainage
- Don’t eat spicy foods as they can trigger exponential secretion of mucous
Other management techniques include;
- Drinking plenty of fluids to clean get rid of the bad breath. Water, in particular, is vital in cleansing your mouth and getting rid of the mucous in your throat and mouth.
- Use over the counter nasal decongestants andantihistamines to relieve congestion and dry up excess mucus.
- Since dry air can be trigger for the post nasal drip, you can humidify the air to minimize the probability of a post nasal drip.
- Use a nasal irrigation kit such as hydropulse to control post nasal drip and sinus infections effectively.
- You can moisten your nasal passage using an over the counter saline spray. It helps in breaking up any nasal secretions. When choosing the nasal spray and nasal irrigation kits, ensure they`re certified by the FDA.
- Maintain proper oral hygiene to cleanse the mucus and bacteria causing the bad breath. When brushing your mouth (with a proper toothpaste), focus on the upper and rear end of the tongue since it`s the region closest to your throat.
5 Natural Homemade Remedies for Bad Breath Caused by Post Nasal Drip
- Gargle with salt water
Gargling with salty water is the most effective home remedy for post nasal drip. Gargling with salty water helps in thinning the mucus making it easy for your body to flush the mucous. Additionally, it flushes out the bacteria and germs in your throat.
- Drink ginger
Ginger is a natural decongestant and is rich in antibacterial and antiviral properties. Aside from reducing mucous production, ginger helps in clearance of the mucous. Other benefits of drinking ginger include alleviating common symptoms of post nasal drip such as chest congestion and sore throat.
- Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is known for its antihistamine properties and the capsaicin. These two properties are responsible for thinning mucus, making it easier to eliminate. Additionally, it soothes the irritated throat.
- Blow your nose
As simple and mundane as it seems, blowing your nose can help in reducing the amount of excess mucous in your throat. However, you should blow your nose with moderation.
Steam is great for clearing the nasal cavities and help with the excess mucous. Boil water and then inhale the steam. For optimum results, you can add lavender essential oils drop, peppermint or eucalyptus.
The main objective of any of the above remedies is to ensure that mucous does not accumulate in your throat or respiratory tract.
These remedies can help you have fresh breath all day long.
If all the above remedies do not work for you, you can consult with your local doctor, as it the odor may signify a larger problem. For example, wisdom teeth and bad breath, as well as white tongue and bad breath, are often connected.