Do cold & fever cause bad breath?

Not very long ago, I had mentioned that I was down with cold and flu and I'd even written a post on how lemon grass tea helped me to soothe the symptoms. Apparently at that point of time, I had bad breath too.

To be honest, I never had a chance of knowing about it until one of the neighbouring kids told me. Now  kids generally are known to be very forthright and blatant in telling you the hard facts on your face, be it a straggling hair peeking out of your nose, a stray hair on your chin or how awful you look in your new dress.

Adults, on the other hand will go out of their way to conceal all sorts of things from you, all the while sneering at you or poking fun behind your back. In a way, it's good - knowing the truth I mean ... the kid's honesty actually let me know about my problem and I could do something about it.

woman with cold and fever

foul breath due to garlic
Now, I've never suffered from chronic bad breath (halitosis) or anything of that sort. But like everyone, I've experienced it whenever I've gorged on onion and garlicky dishes, and the foul breath is immediately obvious; you need not even take breath tests for that, even your sweat starts reeking of garlic.

But this isn't something serious, as this particular vampire breath usually disappears in a day or two when the garlic gets entirely flushed out of your system.

However, if the issue has to resolved immediately, say if you have already eaten a garlicky dish and you have an unforeseen important meeting to attend urgently, you can always rely on this particular remedy and the results are quite dramatic, trust me I've tried it and it certainly helps mask bad breath to a great extent!

Now, frankly nobody had ever mentioned anything about bad breath during my previous bouts of illnesses; so in a way this kid enlightened me and got me thinking!  Does cold, fever, runny nose etc have something to do with bad breath (halitosis), I began to wonder.


Evidently it's true - this halitosis-cold connection. According to Dr. Harold Katz of Thera Breath, any nasal condition that increases mucus production has the potential to cause bad breath. Colds, flu and coughs cause an increased catarrh.

He explains that runny nose itself is not responsible for bad breath, but this condition leads to the increase in the anaerobic bacteria at the back of the throat, which in turn emit foul aromas as a byproduct of their digestion and hence the bad breath.

So it makes sense to maintain good oral hygiene during your illness. You have to be particular about brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly. Likewise you should  clean your tongue properly with a good tongue scraper, especially targeting the back portion for most anaerobic bacteria reside here.

Say no to milk and dairy products when you have cold, fever and cough
Pic courtesy

Additionally, dairy products are also found to exacerbate the excess catarrh production in many people. So avoiding dairy products (milk and it's products) could also help.

While it may not be a good idea to consume yoghurt (a byproduct of milk) when you have cold, fever or cough, don't desist from eating it as soon as you get well. Japanese researchers, in fact, have found  that around 60 grams of yogurt a day can give you a healthy set of gums and teeth.

Yogurt packed with calcium, vitamin B12 and 15 percent of your daily protein requirement, halves your risk of advanced gum disease, which begins with gingivitis or inflammation around the gums. Yogurt's lactobacilli bacteria (the good type) actually attack the disease causing bugs in your mouth.

Coming back to the topic, even if you cannot consume milk or its products at this time, drinking lots of fluids helps clear the catarrh substantially. I'm speaking from my personal experience - consuming lots of rice water (Congee water) and barley water during my illness provided me immense relief and cured my cough too. woman inhaling steam to cure cold

You can also try steam inhalation to loosen the mucus at the back of your throat. Add 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water for a heightened effect.

While Dr Katz recommends gargling with a  breath freshening rinse to eliminate foul breath, I would rather use home-made mouth rinses. They are not only highly potent and effective but also friendly on your pocket.

Anyway, why spend a bomb on fancy packed products when homemade ones are good enough. Actually this bad breath during cold/flu is a temporary problem which should clear up as soon as the infection disappears, so you need not really make a big fuss of it. But hey, why miss a wonderful opportunity of pampering yourself; you will really feel good.

A reputed Ayurvedic doctor recommended these wonderful recipes to me.The first recipe is with the wonder herb Tulsi. Take around 40-50 Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves. Crush them using a mortar and pestle to a chutney consistency. Take 1/4 gm each of Cardamom (Elaichi), Clove (Laung) and Camphor (Kaapur) and powder them. Take 1 glass of lukewarm water. Add Crushed Tulsi leaves and the cardamom-clove-camphor powder. Mix well and gargle. For the second recipe, you have to take 1 tsp of sandalwood (chandan) paste (you can prepare this by rubbing a piece of sandalwood on a stone surface wetted with water) and 1 tsp of lemon juice and add it to one glass of lukewarm water. Further you may also add 1 tsp of rock salt (Saindhava Lavana) (optional) to it and stir well. Now gargle with this mixture. You can find more such bad breath homemade recipes here.

woman shivering. Has cold and Fever

So were you aware of the fact that cold and fever could possibly cause bad breath? Do you know of any home remedies that can get rid of halitosis or bad breath? Or do you prefer to use mouth fresheners and rinses? Do share your thoughts in the comments

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  1. bad breath is probably from the infection.

  2. Pramila8:37 AM

    sometimes bad breath is a sign of an underlying illness ,could be a sinus infection

  3. Simaran9:00 AM

    Put a few drops of tea tree oil on your toothbrush top it with toothpaste, and then brush your teeth. Tea tree oil can also cure gum disease, which is possibly the cause of your bad breath.

  4. Saket9:21 AM

    gargle with hot salty water.

  5. Shrimayi9:22 AM

    Put a few drops of tea tree oil on your toothbrush top it with toothpaste, and then brush your teeth. Tea tree oil can also cure gum disease, which is possibly the cause of your bad breath

  6. Various home remedies can also be used. Look for tips to avoid bad breath.

  7. There is a pathology connected from the flu towards bad breath. Deposits of bacterial infested phlegm can remain in the tongue, teeth and gum cheeks.


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