Question: I AM CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING A BAD BREATH ODOR, EVEN FROM JUST BREATHING. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TYPE OF SMELL IT IS, BUT I NOTICE WHEN I AM SPEAKING CLOSELY TO SOMEONE THEY WITHDREW. EVEN SITTING NEAR TO SOMEONE I FEEL A DISCOMFORT. I DON’T HAVE CAVITIES, AND I BRUSH THREE TIMES A DAY AND FLOSS ONCE A DAY, I BRUSH THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH AND USE A TONGUE SCRAPPER FOR MY TONGUE. I THINK MY PROBLEM IS INTERNALLY. IN THE PAST I NOTICE A SMALL RED SPOT ON THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH.
Thanks for your question. This is not an uncommon problem that we see at the Sinus Center. There are many causes of a bad breath odor or Halitosis
While probably the most common one is oral- such as cavities, gum infections, dry mouth or poor oral hygiene- there are quite a few others.
Certain foods- such as garlic, onions and a few others can leave us with a bad oral odor.
We see patients with bad breath from 2 main causes-
Sinus infections can cause a fetid odor from the bacteria in the sinuses, that then may drip down into the back of the nose and throat.
Gastric reflux can cause a bitter odor if acid from the stomach comes up as far as the throat.
In children, foreign bodies lodged in the nose, as well as sinus infections and infections of the adenoids and reflux as well can cause bad breath.
Certain medications can cause bad breath, especially those that cause drying of the mucous membranes- especially narcotics, water pills (diuretics) and some antihistamines.
One must not forget tobacco- which clearly causes bad breath-
Lastly, you must also be sure that there is not a systemic metabolic cause- such as diabetes and kidney disease.
I hope this helps clear things up
Robert Pincus MD.
NY Otolaryngology Group
Co-Director NY Sinus Center