Regarding sinus infections, there are many ways they can affect your life on a day-to-day basis, from not being able to sleep at night to the relationship between sinus infections and toothache. Unfortunately, as far as infections go, healthy sinuses are an vital part of maintaining a healthy body. Today, however, we’re investigating the relationship between sinus infections and bad breath, or in medical terms, ‘halitosis. As we know, a sinus infection is some form of inflammation within the soft tissues lining the sinuses. As a result of the inflammation, drainage can be blocked and prevented while many other issues can also arise. How does are sinusitis and halitosis correlated? In truth, there are two reasons why this may occur.
What’s the Link Between Sinusitis and Halitosis
Cause #1: Dry Mouth
Firstly, colds and sinus infections clog up the nose, thus drying out our mouths. When we can’t breathe through our noses, we’re forced to open our mouths more often, and we can’t produce enough saliva to keep up. With a lack of moisture in the mouth, we have no saliva to fight off bacteria, which begins to build. Over time, this impacts on our breath (and all those around us too!).
If this is something you’re experiencing right now, the first step we recommend taking is brushing your teeth two or even three times per day. As long as you use a fluoride toothpaste, this can help to freshen your breath. In addition to this, you should drink plenty of water since that’ll keep your mouth moist and it should encourage more saliva to fight off bacteria and prevent it from building.
However, these are only a short-term solutions, so we then recommend visiting your doctor; they’re likely to refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. From here, they can get to work resolving the root cause of the bad breath which will be the sinus infection.
Cause #2: Post-Nasal Drip
Whenever a sinus infection occurs, excess mucus is often produced and, considering it cannot efficiently drain, it usually accumulates towards the back of the nose and in the throat. In case you didn’t know, the end of the tongue rests in the throat, which is where the mucus will gather. When your sinuses are healthy, this build-up can be expelled when you blow your nose. With the mucus combining with bacteria and the air coming in through the mouth, leading to bad breath. As you can probably imagine, mucus doesn’t smell great at the best of times but this combination makes it even worse.
Although the two causes are very similar, they occur in different parts of the mouth, linking sinusitis and halitosis. Interestingly, the building blocks of the protein found in dairy foods, methionine, is actually the same as those found in mucus. If you’ve ever noticed bad breath and a build-up of phlegm after consuming more than your usual amount of cheese or milk, this is why.
Just to make the problem worse, those of you that still have your tonsils will experience bad breathe (with sinus infections) more than most because the tonsils often harbor bacteria. Over time, they can also trap post-nasal drip and the mucus settles in the crevices. If not treated sufficiently, this is how tonsil stones form which are, quite literally, areas of hardened mucus. With all these factors playing a role, it leaves the patient with halitosis.
With post-nasal drip, there are several treatment options the doctor and ENT specialist could explore. Firstly, they’re likely to start with primary treatments such as nasal sinus drops. Not only will this improve the odor emanating from your mouth, but it’ll also get into the hard-to-reach areas otherwise not accessible. From here, various medicines can be used to treat the actual sinus infection.
If the issue is severe enough, the quickest and most efficient solution could be balloon sinuplasty. As a minimally-invasive procedure, this involves a tiny balloon that is sent into the nose attached to a small camera so the specialist can direct it carefully. As soon as it’s in the nasal passage, the balloon is inflated and this restructures the area. While medication gets to work on the inflammation, the balloon sinuplasty can improve drainage thus reducing the side effects that come with sinus infections.
If you’ve had sinusitis and halitosis for a considerable amount of time, along with a blocked nose or trouble with sinuses, feel free to take a trip to your doctor because it might be something more than a common cold.