Sometimes, bad breath comes from nothing more sinister than smelly food and the need for a good tooth-brushing. Other times, there's something sneakier at work. A case in point is halitosis caused by post-nasal drip, cough and dry mouth. These three elements together can give you funky oral odor and make your entire day unpleasant.
Which comes first?
When several factors combine to give you bad breath, the most important thing to know is which comes first. That way, you'll have an idea of what to remedy first. In this case, halitosis, a cough and dry mouth are indicators that what started it all is almost certainly post-nasal drip.
This condition begins when an irritant, usually dust, pollen, mold or a household allergen, gets into your nasal passages. In an attempt to remove the foreign matter, you nose produces more moisture, hoping to flush away the irritating substance.
Unlike in a sinus infection, which creates thick mucus, this situation results in thin, watery fluid running down the back of your throat. The sensation caused by this gives you a chronic cough, which in turn dries out your mouth.
And voila: You have halitosis.
Specialty breath fresheners to the rescue!
Regardless of which happens first, though - post-nasal drip, cough or dry mouth - what should always come last is a specialty breath freshening nasal spray. Such products cleanse away irritants, soothe your nasal passages and neutralize odors.
Afterwards, it is usually a good idea to gargle with an alcohol-free mouthwash or to rinse with an oral care probiotics product. That way, you know that no leftover bacteria are taking shelter in your throat or tonsils.
And of course, if you have nasal allergies, you'll probably need to visit an allergist and then look into taking antihistamines or over-the-counter medications.
In spring, this course of action is especially important, since this is the time of year that wreaks the most havoc with noses and (by extension) with oral odor. In fact, May is the worst month of all for hay fever and asthma, which is why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has designated May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
At least 40 million Americans have indoor or outdoor allergies, to irritants like pollen, dust, dander, ragweed or mold, according to the AAFA.