Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes are not the only miserable symptoms of a sinus problem. Halitosis, more commonly referred to as bad breath, is yet another potentially embarrassing symptom that can accompany a sinus condition.
Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip is excess mucus that drips down the back of your mouth when you have a stuffy nose as a results of a cold, flu, allergy or sinusitis. Post-nasal drip provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and multiply. This bacterial build-up is what causes bad breath odor.
Bacteria can also build up in the crevices of your tonsils (if you still have them). The combination of post nasal drip and bacteria from the tonsils results in the formation of tonsil stones, hardened clumps of mucus that cause a fowl breath odor.
Another cause of sinus breath is breathing through your mouth when you have a stuffy nose. Saliva acts a cleansing agent for the mouth by washing away food particles. When you breathe through your mouth, your mouth becomes dry; this can cause bad breath.
What to Do for Bad Breath
You could use breath mints or mouthwash to freshen your breath, but these are temporary fixes. Treating the cause of your post-nasal drip is the only way you will eliminate bad sinus breath. There are plenty of over-the-counter nasal decongestants you can take.
There are also some home remedies you can try to open up your sinuses and dry up post-nasal drip:
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use a nasal saline spray
- Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water
- Take long showers
- Place a warm wet towel on your face
- Nasal irrigation using a neti pot, syringe or nasal irrigator. Only use distilled or sterile water for the irrigation solution, and be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use.
- Place a pillow underneath your head to keep it elevated when you lie down
If medication or home remedies do not help, see your doctor. He can determine whether or not your sinus condition requires more extensive treatment. You may have an infection that needs attention from a professional.
Let your doctor know if you still have bad breath after your sinus problem has cleared up. Bad breath is often a symptom of other health conditions such as chronic acid reflux, bronchitis, gum disease, kidney or liver disease and pneumonia.