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Winter colds and flu bring on Halitosis

coughingWinter is in full swing and colds and flu are a guarantee. No matter all the preventative measures you get today some including flu vaccine, over the counter medication and even prescription medication, the chances are good that colds and influenza can still infect you.

The most common way that a cold can cause foul smelling breath is through post-nasal drip accompanied by a cough. A body’s natural way of getting rid of foreign matter (bacteria and viruses) is by producing mucus. If you have post-nasal drip during the winter months you know you have a cold, and that your breath will have a not so pleasant odour.

When a cold or flu is present in the body, the nose and the sinuses discharge a thick sometimes yellowish mucus to help fight off the cold. The mucus slides through the nasal passages and down the back of the throat, causing bad breath. The smell is a result of the spent white blood cells and inflammation caused by the cold.

Coughing often complicates cold-related halitosis. A cough occurs when the throat and the lungs are exposed to irritants. A cold might start out with just a bit of inflammation in the throat or in the sinuses, but when you develop post-nasal drip it might trigger a cold related cough.

A cough pushes up stale, protein-smelling air from the lungs. It also dries out the throat, mouth and the palate. An excessive cough will leave the throat area scratchy and dry, accompanied by a sour odour emitting from the mouth. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for odour-causing bacteria to grow, causing halitosis, and worsening the already existing halitosis.

Saliva is the body’s natural mouth rinse that washes away any bacteria and food particles still present in the mouth. Without saliva present in the mouth, bacteria starts to multiply and emit hydrogen sulphide as a by- product of their metabolism. Hydrogen sulphide gives off a rotten smell, which is not uncommon as being part of cold and cough related bad breath.

Often, a doctor needs to prescribe cough mixture, which is usually thick and syrupy. The mixture could leave your mouth smelling either bitter or sickly sweet. Eating plenty of savoury foods like chicken soup will leave a layer of oil on and in between the teeth, resulting in more odour causing bacteria. A blocked nose will dry out the mouth and have you waking up with in the morning with severe morning breath.

Besides taking your medication to treat the cold, you should brush and rinse your mouth at least twice a day and scrape of the top layer of bacteria from the tongue lightly. It is recommended that you use specialty breath freshening products that contain no alcohol.

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Please send us a message or call us on 010 492 7370 or 076 422 5456 in an emergency.

Please send us a message or call us on 010 492 7370 or 076 422 5456 in an emergency.

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