Halitosis or Bad Breath
Halitosis (bad breath) is due to sulfur containing gas released together with air in the breath. The release of abundant of volatile sulfur compound is seen when bacteria that normally colonizes in the airway and GI tract digests organic materials on the surfaces of those tract. Therefore, you can see this problem in many diseases or conditions that creat an environment for bacteria overgrowth locally in the airway and GI tract.
Current literatures and common knowledge mostly point this problem to dental and gastrointestinal diseases but fail to mention that a rather large part of halitosis is caused by diseases in the airway. In allergy related diseases, conditions that create a chronic collection of mucus are seen in the whole airway tract from the nose to the sinuses, throat and to the lower airway at the bronchi and bronchioles. Therefore, if those allergic airway diseases are not controlled or managed well, patient can develop bad breath. Interestingly, the odor stench is different from different areas of the airway likely due to the differences in bacteria colonies at different places of the airway. In general, the odor from the upper airway (nose, throat) is usually clammy whereas chronic fluid in the sinuses release the a garlicky or onion-like smell. The worst part is at the lower airway seen in untreated or poorly managed asthma or COPD. The odor can smell like fecal material due to the same bactria conlonies in the lower airway also found in the gut. In the later example of lower airway diseases where patients have fecal-like odor in the breath, they can also develop frequent bronchitis or bronchopneumonia due to overgrowth of bacteria on the damage epithelium and abundant of mucus in the lower airway.
Besides bad breath, chronic interactions between lower airway microbiomes and exposed immune cells from barrier damages in the lower airway might potentially lead to new developement of autoimmune disease. The most common autoimmune condition we see associated with lower airway disease is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This hypothesis is being actively looked at at Texas Allergy Group.
If you or your family have this condition, please come for a visit at Texas Allergy for discussion on how we would help manage your symptoms to reduce bad breath and to prevent it from developing into bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, or potential new development of autoimmune diseases. Below are services and procedures that we offer at Texas Allergy for this condition.