Most cases of bad breath are caused by bacteria living in the mouth. These bacteria breaks down proteins found in the foods you eat – proteins which contain cysteine and methionine, both amino acids rich in sulfur.
Have you ever smelled a rotten egg? Well, the cause of that unpleasant odor is actually the sulfur compound Hydrogen sulfide. When the bacteria in your mouth come into contact with cysteine and methionine, a reaction occurs, causing the release of the sulfur compounds contained therein. These sulfur compounds include Hydrogen sulfide, Methyl mecraptan, and other odorous substances that cause bad breath.
Majority of bad breath cases, about 85 to 90%, emanate from the mouth. The other ten percent could come from the back of the throat, the sinuses, the lungs, and even the tonsils.
Bad breath because of tonsils is an extremely rare case of bad breath and not many people are even aware of it. Now, you may have heard of the condition called tonsillitis, which is an inflammation of the tonsils due to a bacterial or viral infection. The bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, infect the tonsils, causing them to become inflamed and collect pus. When this happens, bad breath because of tonsils occurs.
Another instance where bad breath because of tonsils could occur is when your tonsils form what are called tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. Your tonsils are actually made up of soft tissue with tiny holes or pockets lining its surface. These holes serve as openings through which the immune system of the body releases antibodies to combat bacteria in the mouth.
Sometimes, however, pus (made up of dead bacteria and dead antibodies) may end up stuck between these holes, blocking the passages. After some time, the pus calcifies and become hard as stones (tonsilloliths) so that the tonsils become inflamed and infected due to the blockage. This in turn will lead to bad breath because of tonsils.
Bad breath because of tonsils is not always caused by bacteria. Sometimes, what you believe is bad breath because of tonsils may well turn out to be something else entirely or turn out to be bad breath due to sinusitis or some other condition. It could be caused by a viral infection, such as colds, which cause postnasal drip symptoms – a condition commonly associated with bad breath. Therefore, it is important that you confirm that you really have bad breath because of tonsils and not because of some other reason.
Ask your doctor for some advice. He will probably examine you for tonsillitis or presence of tonsilloliths. X-rays and scans of your sinuses may also be conducted to ensure that the symptoms are not related to some other respiratory condition. If it happens that you have tonsillitis which is causing bad breath, there are several medications available to alleviate the infection.
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