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Sinuses and halitosis

Have you ever noticed how bad breath, or ‘halitosis’, often comes hand in hand with sinus problems? 

This is due primarily to the bacteria that lurk on the back of the tongue.  In most cases, the bacteria die from exposure to oxygen, which is deadly to them.  But for folks with post-nasal drip, the bacteria are sheltered and fed by mucus. 

When mucus drips down from the nasal passages into the mouth, it coats the bacteria, thus protecting them from the oxygen that would kill them.  Then, the bacteria break down the proteins in mucus and feed on the amino acids.  When this happens, the bacteria release the sulfur compounds that we smell when someone close by has bad breath.

Many people with halitosis don’t realize they have bad breath because their sense of smell has been impacted by nasal congestion.  They may not find out until someone gets up the nerve to tell them.

Tongue scraping or using nasal wash such as a Betti Pot neti is a good way to combat halitosis. The saline rinse used with the Betti Pot acts both to clean mucus out of the sinuses and to disinfect them.  It prevents sinus-related halitosis by removing the mucus before it has the chance to drip down the throat.  A nasal rinse also improves the ability to smell by removing congestion.