Sinus Infections and Bad Breath

A man holds his nose with his hand and winces in pain. A New Jersey winter can be tough on the sinuses. The combination of lots of germs hanging around with outdoor cold and indoor dry heat can lead to sinus infections. But it’s not right that your inflamed sinuses also lead to bad breath. That’s a double whammy — as bad as the Devils missing the playoffs and the Rangers winning the Cup!

It’s true. A sinus infection and its corresponding drainage in the back of your throat will invariably cause bad breath.

Since we dealt with teenage halitosis in March’s first Gentle Dental blog, let’s get into more of the stench in the second, along with (more importantly for those around you) what you can do about it.

What are sinus infections?

Sinus infections occur when fluid builds up in your sinuses. Germs grow. Colds, allergies, smoking, a weak immune system, and structural problems in the sinuses can all cause sinus infections. Symptoms include a runny/stuffy nose, facial pain or pressure, headaches, postnasal drip, sore throat, cough, and bad breath.

How do sinus infections make rancid breath?

Mucus is the enemy here. The mucus dwelling in infected sinuses smells bad. Infected mucus drips out of the sinuses and down the back of the throat. There it meets the air you exhale, and the odor from the infection transfers to your breath.

How do you treat a sinus infection?

Acute sinus infections last less than four weeks, and most of them clear up on their own as your body’s immune system beats up on the invaders. Chronic sinusitis can be an ongoing thing for those unfortunate few. Antihistamine tablets, nose sprays, acetaminophen, and throat lozenges can all help get you through it. Don’t use nasal decongestants for longer than five days, though. A neti pot is good, as is a humidifier. If your sinus infection symptoms last for more than 10 days, it’s time to get to a doctor. He or she may prescribe antibiotics to kill the stubborn bacteria.

What can you do to lessen your bad breath during a sinus infection?

Good oral hygiene is your best defense. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, and floss once daily. Be sure to brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue. Mouthwash is a good idea too.

No one’s going to want to be around you when you’re sick anyway, which is just as well, as your breath will clear up when your sinus infection does.

Now that we’ve covered bad breath as we move into a welcome New Jersey spring, there’s no reason anyone should come up to you and say, “Uh, you could use a mint, know what I mean, Bob?”

If it’s time to book your regular exam and cleaning with our team at Gentle Dental, please give us a call at (732) 549-5660.

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