During the winter months in cold climates, the air often gets dry, causing stuffed up noses, brittle hair and dried out skin. When the air you breathe in becomes too dry, it causes bad breath. Many people may overlook the relation of dry air to bad breath, but think about it. If you are stuffed up, you are likely breathing through your mouth more often, which causes it to dry out. Dry mouth leads to bad breath because you don’t have enough saliva to rid the mouth of gross bacteria that stinks and causes people around you to run and hide.
Luckily, there are many ways to battle these symptoms, including using a humidifier or vaporizer in the home. When we blast the heat in our homes, we dry out the air in our house. Using a humidifier or vaporizer will counteract the dryness in your sinuses and mouth. Similar to taking a steamy shower, the moisture loosens up mucus, allowing it to get back to its normal path through your body.
There are various kinds of humidifiers such as ultrasonic, impeller and evaporative humidifiers that disperse cool mist into the air. However, it is important to make sure that the device you are using is clean, because dirty humidifiers can breed mold and bacteria that can make you sick. Also, maintaining a steady humidity level in the home is important, because too much humidity can make the home feel stuffy. You don't want the sweatiness of summer to come with the device! Consider purchasing a humidifier with a built in humidistat.
To maintain a clean device, make sure you are frequently changing the water, cleaning the humidifier, using distilled or demineralized water and keeping up with changing the filter.
"Humidifiers can help nasal congestion in that they provide for more moisture and humidity within the nose," Mark A. Zacharek, MD, residency program director for the department of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, told Everyday Health. “The nose is supposed to provide humidity and warmth and clean the air that passes through it. Forced heating systems in homes and workplaces often over-dry the nasal passages, aggravating allergies and sinusitis.”
Vaporizers are very similar to humidifiers, but they use steam instead of cool mist. These units use heat to create boiling water, and then the steam is dispersed into the surrounding air. There are also warm mist humidifiers that cool the hot steam before it goes into the air. Some people are leery of these products, especially with children and pets around, because they heat up and can get very hot. If safety precautions are taken, these devices can be very beneficial because they help rid the home of allergens, irritants, viruses and bacteria.
To inevitably battle bad breath and dried out sinuses, using an oxygenating mouthwash and maintaining good oral hygiene will help the battle. Investing in a tongue scraper will also help because bacteria congregates at the back of the mouth, which is hard to reach with a toothbrush. Make sure to refrain from using mouthwash with alcohol in it, or breath mints with sugar, which can cause the mouth to dry out even more and result in bad breath. Using a moisturizing nasal spray can also help people who are suffering from sinusitis and stuffed up noses.
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