Post Nasal Drip and Halitosis
Post nasal drip is a condition involving the backward flow of mucus down the posterior area of the throat. This occurs when mucus accumulates at the back of the nose. Post nasal drip can cause you to have bad breath, diarrhea and also make you feel nauseous.
Bad breath is due to anaerobic bacteria that breed under the surface of your tongue, at the back of your throat and tonsils. These bacteria can cause a foul smell, almost like sulfur called Hydrogen sulfide (the smell of rotten eggs and dirty socks smell) when allowed to grow in material such as nasal mucus.
Signs and Symptoms of Bad Breath
- A bitter taste in your mouth
- Your mouth feels dry
- A white or yellow coating on the tongue
- Experiencing people avoiding direct contact with you and moving away when talking to them
- When people offer you chewing gum or a sweet
- A smelly odor smelt when opening your mouth
Causes of Halitosis
- Dry mouth – When your mouth is very dry, and there is not enough saliva to wash away the excess bacteria, this can cause unpleasant smells. Saliva is required to cleanse the mouth.
- Certain Foods – Food such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods may cause a bad smell in the mouth after consumption; however, this smell usually does not last long. The smell is caused by the foods being absorbed into the blood stream, transferred into the lungs and taken out in the air you breathe. Eating these foods every day may cause you to develop halitosis. People who are following certain diets are more likely to develop bad breath.
- Poor Oral Health – Without brushing your teeth regularly, flossing or routine check-ups by the dentist, you will be more prone to developing bad breath. Food may remain in the mouth causing bacteria to reproduce, which causes bad breath. This can also result in gum disease and discolor or even damage your teeth.
- Improper cleaning of Dentures – Dentures must be cleaned every time after eating as well as in the mornings and night as these can provide ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.
Self-Care Tips to assist in Treating Bad Breath
- Maintain good oral health
- Rinse your mouth out after every time you eat
- Brush teeth three times a day
- Floss once daily
- Use mouthwash at least once a day
- Go for regular check-ups with your dentist
- Use a tongue cleaner and clean right at the back of the tongue
- Drink plenty of fluids daily
- Chew sugar-free gum after you eat and whenever your mouth feels dry to stimulate saliva production
- Limit alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Eat a balanced diet
- Reduce the number of sugary foods and drinks you consume
The Relationship between Post Nasal Drip and Halitosis
The home of anaerobic bacteria lays at the back end of the tongue – almost in the throat, this is what causes bad breath. Mucus will be produced if there is any irritation that occurs in the nasal passage and may manifest as rhinitis and sinusitis. Instead of mucus dripping out the front of the nose it is dripping backward down the throat (post nasal drip). This means that bad breath bacteria located at the back of the tongue is repeatedly provided with food in which to live and thrive. Bacteria gives off proteins in the mucus and forms strong smelly odors.
If a person still has their tonsils, they will have a greater amount of bacteria and germs located in their tonsils. Tonsils can trap mucus and post nasal drip and over a period of time, can even trap anaerobic sulfur-producing bacteria. Common places for bacteria to live in include tonsils stones. These are lumps of mucus that have gotten hard over time, during that period of time the mucus lumps had been mixed with bacteria to create an extremely odorous smelly mixture.