Tonsils Bad Breath
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a fairly common malady. Usually, the cause is some kind of dental problem or the foods we eat. Plaque, food particles, and stale saliva provide excellent breeding ground for bacteria in our mouths to thrive and proliferate, releasing odorous substances known as volatile sulfur compounds.
Experts say that 85 to 90% of bad breath cases emanate from the mouth and only a very few could actually trace the odor back to someplace other than the mouth. These areas often include the gastrointestinal tract, the back of the throat, the lungs, and, of course, the tonsils.
Only about 3% of bad breath cases are actually tonsils bad breath, or bad breath as a result of an infection or inflammation of the tonsils.
What are tonsils?
Tonsils are located in the throat, right near the opening of your esophagus – that tube responsible for letting in food from your mouth to your stomach. Since the tonsils are located in the throat, most people believe that the tonsils are actually part of the gastrointestinal tract.
Well, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Tonsils are, in fact, part of your immune system. They release antibodies that kill bacteria living in the mouth. If you’ve ever seen a tonsil up close, you will notice tiny holes on its surface. Occasionally, bacteria end up stuck in these tiny holes. The tonsils react by killing these bacteria and squirting them out through the throat.
What causes tonsils bad breath?
However, sometimes the tonsils fail to squirt these dead bacteria and dead antibodies out. As a result, the matter stays in the tonsils and calcifies, eventually turning into tonsilloliths (“tonsil stones”). Although they are only about half the size of a head of a match, they can smell quite nasty, causing the very condition we are talking about here – tonsils bad breath.
Other than tonsils bad breath, tonsilloliths do not cause any other medical problems. As such, not many doctors are even aware of them. In most cases of bad breath that don’t emanate from the mouth, the odorous smell is caused by sinusitis, reduced mucus flow, or a foreign body (rarely). That is why tonsils bad breath is sometimes misdiagnosed as caused by a blockage in the nasal passages.
How can you stop tonsils bad breath?
Tonsils bad breath is essentially caused by bacteria. Remember that tonsilloliths are composed of dead bacteria and dead antibodies, which the tonsils released as an immunodefense reaction. If the bacteria hadn’t gotten into the tonsils in the first place, they, along with the antibodies, wouldn’t have ended up stuck inside the tonsils and calcified, causing tonsils bad breath. This goes without saying then that one way to get rid of tonsils bad breath is to reduce the bacterial population in the mouth. And how can you do that? Through good oral hygiene.