Bad Breath and Your Tonsils
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 20 2020, 11:31 AM
If you have persistent bad breath that doesn’t go away with brushing and flossing alone, your bad breath could be caused by something other than a plaque or the foods you consume. Bad breath or halitosis has many causes, including dry mouth, medications you may be taking, or a condition called tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis is a condition of the lymph nodes known as your tonsils. The tonsils are located in your mouth, at the intersection of your throat and palate. Their primary function is to help your immune system by blocking germs from entering the throat. Tonsils are full of white blood cells that kill germs, too. The condition known as tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become inflamed and infected. Sometimes, tonsillitis can be caused by a condition called tonsil stones, where the tonsils become full of ‘stones’ or hardened calcium deposits that get stuck in the pits and crevices of the tonsils. These calcium deposits are caused by oral plaque and bacteria and bits of swallowed food.
Though tonsil stones are usually harmless, if they become infected your dentist may recommend they be removed, especially if your tonsillitis is recurring. Though tonsillitis is more common in children, it can still affect adults.
Dr. Martin Abelar is a dentist practicing in San Diego, California. He says that tonsillitis is a common cause of bad breath because of the inflammation it causes.
"Tonsilitis can be a major contributor of bad breath because it inflames the mucous membranes of the tonsils, making them cause a foul odor. Also, the bits of food and plaque stuck in the tonsils may cause foul odor as they decompose."
Abelar says that if you have difficulty swallowing or a persistent sore throat you may have tonsillitis and should be seen by a dentist for an evaluation. Bad breath is another symptom you may want to be on the lookout for.
"If you do have bad breath, try the traditional means of eliminating it first. Brush your teeth at least twice per day, floss your teeth, and if you don’t already add steps to your routines such as mouthwash and tongue scraping."
As for tonsil stones, Abelar says they are usually harmless and unless they are causing pain can usually be left alone and can clear up on their own, but if you are concerned about bad breath or infection, you should speak to your dentist about having them removed.