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Can A Sinus Infection Cause Bad Breath?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You already don't feel your best, and then you notice (or someone mentions) that you have bad breath. Did you know that bad breath can be a telltale sign of a sinus infection? It’s true. That’s what happens when you have sinus drainage in the back of your throat. It’s not pleasant, but it is treatable and when the infection is gone, so is the bad breath associated with it. Here’s what you should know and can do.

What Are Sinus Infections?

Sinus infections occur when there's a fluid build up in your sinuses. Germs grow. Colds, allergies, smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke, a weak immune system, and structural problems in the sinuses can all cause sinus infections. Symptoms include; a runny and/or stuffy nose, facial pain or pressure, headache, postnasal drip, sore throat, cough, and bad breath. Acute sinusitis lasts less than four weeks, whereas chronic sinusitis may last longer than three months.

How Do Sinus Infections Make Bad Breath?

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

How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection?

Many acute sinus infections clear up on their own. Symptoms can be soothed with over-the-counter (OTC) treatments such as antihistamine tablets, nose sprays, acetaminophen, and throat lozenges. Avoid using nasal decongestants for longer than three to five days. Drink plenty of (hot) liquids, use a humidifier and spray nasal saline as needed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing sinusitis symptoms for more than ten days. He or she may prescribe antibiotics. Talk to your doctor if you get sinus infections often. He or she may want to do additional tests to find out why.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bad Breath Due To A Sinus Infection?

You can help improve the smell of your breath by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

If you feel under the weather and are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms and having issues with bad breath, check with your physician to see if a sinus infection is the cause.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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