Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Post Nasal Drip & Halitosis

Allergies are rampant in the southwest this season, and many of my patients are feeling it. This week in Austin, Texas, they are experience record levels or cedar and juniper pollen and the result is heavy allergies. That means both congestion and chronic post nasal drip… and also an influx of chronic halitosis.

At The Center for Breath Treatment we have long recognized the distinct connection between post nasal drip and chronic halitosis. Post nasal drip involves the intermittent flow of mucous down the back of the throat. As the mucous travels downward, it leaves a visible white or yellowish film on the back part of the tongue (dorsum). It may also induce a cough or habitual need to clear one’s throat. For some individuals, like the seasonal allergy sufferer, this drip is quite noticeable and annoying. It diminishes life quality and has a number of secondary symptoms such as headaches, sinus pressure and general discomfort. For others, especially those with a mild, but persistent post nasal drip condition, they may not even be aware that they have the condition at all. They have lived their entire life with the constant drip, and it is the norm for them.

When it comes to halitosis and its connection to post nasal drip, the symptom you should most be concerned with is the white or yellowish film on the tongue. This is also known as biofilm, and it is an attractive environment for bacteria – the single biggest contributor to chronic halitosis. Not only does biofilm provide bacteria with a fantastic place to feed and breed, but it also acts as a protective layer, shielding the bacteria from external threats including medication. In fact, Biofilm is one of the biggest issues when fighting bacterial infection. Antibiotics have difficulty penetrating the film, allowing survivor bacteria, which persist, becoming stronger and even antibiotic resistant. Biofilm is the reason may so many people have long battles with sinus infections. Biofilm can also build up in sinus cavities, making treatment quite difficult. Many patients with sinus infections require a series of treatments.

If you struggle with bad breath and experience post nasal drip, there is a good chance that there is a connection between the two. Your best course of action is regular sinus irrigation with a high quality device like the Hydro-Pulse sinus irrigator and a warm salt or saline solution. If you live in a rural environment where tap water is not treated, boil or treat the water before flushing your sinuses with it. If the halitosis condition persists after several days of irrigation, contact your personal physician, an ear-throat-nose specialist, or a doctor or dentist specializing in bad breath.

To learn more about the biology and physiology that may be contributing to your chronic halitosis, call the Center for Breath Treatment at 1-888-373-7403 and receive a free breath treatment assessment. There are often multiple variables at play contributing to a breath condition, and curing bad breath depends on identifying all of the relevant factors.

About the Author: Dr. Anthony Dailley has been practicing dentistry since 1981 and specializes in halitosis treatment, including the link between sinus activity and bad breath. He has a degree in Cell & Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University and a dental degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. Dr Dailley founded the Center for Breath Treatment in the bay area and currently conducts research on curing halitosis at the California Pacific Lab facility in Novato California.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Link between Smoking & Bad Breath

A portion of my clients are smokers... and for these individuals, one the first thing I recommend is quitting. Quit right now, if not for your lungs and heart, for your breath. Many of my clients insist their halitosis is not – in fact - smoking related. “The smell isn’t smoky,” they insist. Or “I had bad breath even before I smoked.” Or (my favorite), “But the smoke covers up the smell.” (Trust me folks, it doesn’t.)

Smoking’s contribution to bad breath is not merely adding the cigarette smell to the mix. The real issue is the oral environment the smoking habit results in. As any knowledgeable halitosis specialist will tell you, the oral environment is one of the key variables in treating halitosis.

It’s Dry in Here

A healthy mouth uses saliva to clear away and break down debris, while also neutralizing acids. Mouths that do not have a healthy level of saliva are more prone to tooth decay, bacterial build-up, yeast infections and gum disease, all of which can contribute to bad breath. The dry mouth condition - also known as xerostomia -can be caused by a number of things, from genetics to alcohol to prescription medicine. And yes, smoking also promotes a very dry mouth environment. The result is a place where bacteria thrive, resulting in chronic bad breath.

If you struggle to give up smoking – and I understand it is a struggle – consider treating your mouth in the meantime with a dry mouth spray or lozenge. Some individuals also switch to vaporized e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through water vapor rather than smoke. While not ideal, it does diminish the dry mouth state.

Periodontal Disease Has Nothing to Do with Dinosaurs

Persistent bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth are common warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. This condition is the result of excessive plague buildup on teeth, which then leads to chronic bacterial buildup that irritates and inflames the gums. It is an unpleasant often painful condition, and according to the American Academy of Periodontology, smoking (and tobacco use in general) is one of the single largest causes of periodontal disease (gum disease).

But... It Might Be More than Your Smokes

While smoking is a major contributor to bad breath, it may not be the only variable in your particular halitosis condition. There are a multitude of physiological and biological aspects worth examination. If you have kicked the habit or suspect there is more at play in your particular circumstance, contact the Center for Breath Cure for a free consultation with a halitosis dental specialist. Until you truly identify the underlying causes of your bad breath, you cannot fully cure halitosis, so it is critical you visit a specialist so that they can determine the underlying medical or physiological reasons for your condition.

If you need help quitting smoking, there are a number of fantastic programs available to help you kick the habit. I recommend visiting The American Cancer Society’s Guide to quitting smoking or speaking with your physician about your smoking cessation options.

About Dr. Dailley: Dr. Dailley has been practicing dentistry since 1981 and founded the Center for Breath Treatment in 1996. He holds a degree in Cell & Molecular Biology from San Francisco State University as well as a Dental Degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. Dr. Dailley performs on-going research on medical approaches for getting rid of bad breath. Visit Dr. Dailley, the bad breath dentist with a 99% success rate.