Post nasal drip occurs when slimy excess mucus drips slowly down behind the nose or throat. The dripping mainly consists of unhealthy or diseased form of mucus. Although in normal cases, the mucus in nose or throat is usually clear, when one falls sick, the mucus may turn sticky and green or white and the a bad breath follows, and this is what is referred to as post nasal bad breath.
The cells that are lining the sinus passage are continuously making mucus. If there is excess formation of mucus, it begins to drip down the back of nose or throat. Both post nasal drip and bad breath are a simultaneous function, and this is probably because the mucus in mouth alongside the post nasal drip provide an ideal breeding ground for growth and multiplication of bacteria. This condition could cause quite inconveniencing state in mouth such as foul smell out of breathe, coughing, and sore throat.
One main problem with the post-nasal drip is that is provides food continually to the anaerobic bacteria which live in a person’s mouth. Eventually, this could lead to post nasal bad breath that occurs because the bacteria are eating, multiplying, and excreting excess wastes that cause the foul smell.
Although post nasal drip may not necessarily be related to bad breath because the foul smell often arises from break down of foods in mouth, an underlying disease, dry mouth, and bacterial tissue of the tonsils or mouth, if the drip is infected, it could still contribute to bad breath.
If you have a post nasal drip accompanied by an infection or sinus problem, you might have the bad breath and other symptoms related to the infection. In order to determine what might be causing the bad breath, you need more evaluation.
How post nasal drip causes bad breath
The mouth harbors many bacteria and when the bacteria in the mouth especially the ones found behind the tongue become continuously exposed to mucus protein, you could have foul smelling sulfur substances released when the protein molecules are broken down. This explains how the post nasal bad breath in your mouth occurs when you are experiencing nasal issues.
The other cause of the foul smell is the presence of dead cells and debris that lodges within the tonsil and tonsillar crypts. The accumulation of dead cells and fragments forms pale tonsiloliths that grow and form a stone like aggregation commonly known as the tonsil stones.
The stone provides an ideal environment where bacteria can multiply because of the food that lodges in that area. Though these stones can be dislodged, they could be a problem to many people because they tend to reoccur and they are malodorous.
What are the symptoms of post nasal bad breath?
The most immediate symptom arising from post nasal bad breath is the foul smell itself. One has bad smell from breath that can be quite uncomfortable for other people to bear. There is also horrible tastes as well as smells that come out from the back of mouth. In morning, there is sour taste or breath.
Besides, a person may have constant clear, light yellow, or white mucus that is lodged in the mouth especially the back of throat. This mucus tends to thrive for an extended period of time. Most of the times, you need to gag and spit it in order to dislodge it from the back of throat. Because of the mucus that is constantly dripping down your throat, you might have coating over the entire tongue.
Another symptom is the inability to taste some foods as well as numbness. Occasionally, you might develop tonsil stones and they can be quite small. A dry mouth can become a problem especially when you have post nasal drip bad breath, and this is because the nose is stuffed with mucus making it quite difficult to breathe through mouth.
If you are experiencing post nasal drip, it is important to manage the reflux. You might want to elevate the head when you are at bed, avoid eating before bedtime, and lose weight. You can also treat the post nasal drip with anti reflux medication for about 3 to 6 months through the guidance of a doctor. Drinking a lot of water will help reduce the throat irritation.
Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene is critical in ensuring the mouth is healthy and prevents bad breath. People who have well cleaned and rinsed mouths on regular basis have mouths that are free of aerobic bacteria that are associated with the post nasal bad breath. Drinking a lot of water helps in keeping the mouth moist. The dryness in mouth causes breath issues, which create the right environment for growth of bacteria.
Saliva reduces bacterial level in mouths and if you have dry mouth, it induces a situation where there is lack of fresh clean healthy breath. The tongue harbors most of the aerobic bacteria, and when you brush the teeth, ensure that you clean and floss the tongue. A regular dental checkup is needed within a span of six months.
In managing the post nasal drip, there are medications that help in nasal decongestion. The nasal decongestants as well as antihistamines can help in relieving and treating post nasal drip. However, the medications only offer a temporary relieve and many people using these medications will often have to deal with the embarrassing problem of bad breath on regular basis.
Salt water gargle can help treat the condition. Add half teaspoon of salt and a juice of half-cut lemon to a glass of lukewarm water and gargle. Lime is quite an effective cure for post nasal bad breath problem. In your tea, put some sugar and some honey. Pour in juice from ½ lemon and drink this on empty stomach first thing in the morning. The lemon cleanses the mucus accumulated due to post nasal drip. Steer clear of alcohol and spicy foods.