Is “Sinus Breath” for Real?
A couple of you have forwarded me this article from the (Pulitzer Prize-winning?!) Huffington Post, on the various ways that bad breath may be caused by sinus ailments. In it, a cosmetic dentist opines freely on the various mechanisms that could lead from sinus distress to halitosis. Money quote:
Post Nasal Drip — Post Nasal Drip is excess mucus that leaks (“drips”) in the back of your mouth. The causes of post nasal drip are many — anything that causes excess mucus can/will result in post-nasal drip. It can be as simple as a cold or allergies (any kind of allergy — food, pollen, pets, etc.), or something harder to pin down, like a bacterial infection. When this excess mucus occurs, it creates an environment ripe for bacteria to multiply, giving the discharge an odor. Hence, you get bad breath.
Sinusitis — Somewhat similar to post nasal drip in how it causes bad breath, sinusitis is a fancy name for what we commonly call a “sinus infection.” When this happens, your sinuses become inflamed, causing the mucus to stop circulating and instead build up. This is a rich environment for bacteria to grow and multiply, and can result in a foul odor. There are a myriad of causes for a sinus infection / sinusitis — everything from a cold to allergies to smoking to a tooth infection. But one of the first symptoms (besides a clogged nose and pain) is usually bad breath.
Accurate? Partly. There is no question that people with sinus ailments will typically exhibit bad breath more frequently than those without, but ascribing that smell to any one place or issue may be misleading. The fact is, all sinus ailments change the chemistry within your sinuses and collateral structures. More moisture, less moisture, improved airflow, decreased airflow – all of these may create opportunities for new pathogens to take root and multiply.
My guess is that what the author describes as “sinus breath” may be more correlation than causation; that is, anyone with an infection is more likely to have bad breath, and your sinuses may play only a supporting role.
That said, if you suffer with this problem and the usual solutions aren’t working for you, it could be something more serious. Contact an experienced Los Angeles ENT today for a fuller examination.