Glands in the nose and throat continually produce mucus that plays an integral role in health. Mucus moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, moistens airways, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter, and fights infection. Under normal circumstances, mucus from the nose mixes with saliva and drips down the back of the throat. This is swallowed gradually and continuously without any issue. Post-nasal drip is the accumulation of thickened mucus in the back of the throat. Swelled nasal passages often accompany chronic post-nasal drip, forcing those affected to breathe through their mouths. This severely reduces the amount of saliva and causes dry mouth. Excess mucus stagnating in the back of the throat promotes the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria and bad breath (halitosis).
The Role of Anaerobic Bacteria
When airways are constricted, people resort to breathing through their mouths unless they take decongestants or use nasal sprays. A dry, protein-rich, stagnant environment without adequate saliva inhibits the production of oxygenating molecules, enabling bacteria to abundantly reproduce. Anaerobic bacteria are responsible for bad breath because they produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that smell like rotten eggs. These compounds are excreted after bacteria consume and digest oral debris like food particles and mucus. The presence of vast amounts of VSCs leads to chronic halitosis and dry mouth.
Post-Nasal Drip Treatment
For post-nasal drip caused by bacterial infections, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics, however, colds are viral in nature and do not respond to antibiotics. Decongestants and antihistamines can reduce nasal passage swelling due to allergies or sinusitis, enabling patients to breathe through their noses. Unfortunately, the ingredients in these medications tend to dry out oral and nasal tissues, resulting in chronic dry mouth. Moreover, these over-the-counter medications do nothing to prevent anaerobic bacteria from thriving in a dry mouth lacking the bacteria-killing oxygen provided by sufficient saliva.
- Short-term use of oral and injectable steroids may be helpful, however, due to significant side effects, steroids must be carefully monitored if used for more than one week
- Mucus-thinning medication such as guaifenesin (Mucinex) may be helpful
- Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays or nasal irrigation products can help flush out excess mucus, bacteria, allergens, and other irritating substances from the sinuses
- A vaporizer or humidifier increases the moisture in the air and alleviates dryness
Post-nasal drip itself can be effectively treated with the above methods. It is necessary to maintain excellent oral hygiene practices and keep the mouth as hydrated as possible to alleviate bad breath and dry mouth. This requires brushing twice a day, flossing, and gargling with alcohol-free mouthwash made with natural oxygenating ingredients.
Effective Relief for Post-Nasal Drip Oral Health Symptoms
TheraBreath offers a variety of highly effective products to help eliminate post-nasal drip, dry mouth, and bad breath, based on years of extensive research by Dr. Katz.
TheraBreath PLUS Nasal-Sinus Drops provide a sinus-cleansing formula that effectively eliminates anaerobic-producing bacteria often concealed in hard to reach sinus passages.
AktivOxigen Serum is a highly concentrated, unflavored, oxygenating serum that can easily be mixed with water or fruit juice to produce a powerful, antibacterial oral rinse solution. It is highly effective at eliminating bad breath and dry mouth.
TheraBreath Dry Mouth Rinse combines soothing, moisturizing enzymes with natural salivary stimulants, a breakthrough solution to help reverse dry mouth symptoms.
TheraBreath Fresh Breath Throat Spray has a patented 6.9 centimeter nozzle capable of reaching the farthest anterior areas of the throat. The “extinguisher” spray combats the hard-to-reach areas where post-nasal drip tends to accumulate.
TheraBreath also offers oxygenating toothpastes that stimulate saliva flow and produce a hydrated, oxygen-rich oral environment in which anaerobic bacteria cannot survive. The powerful oxidizing agent in the products rapidly destroy anaerobic bacteria along with the VCSs they exude. Bad breath and dry mouth caused by post-nasal drip are no match for the superior, bacteria-killing compounds found in all TheraBreath products.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.