What Causes A Bad Smell In The Nose & How To Treat It?

Sometimes an unpleasant smell that keeps bothering is not actually due to the external factors. There are several conditions that include sinuses, nasal passages, and a mouth that can cause a bad smell that seems to come from the inside of the nose.

Most of the health conditions that are related to the sinus can trigger a rotten smell.

Conditions that can lead to bad smell from the nose include:

However, most of the conditions are not life-threatening but may require medical attention as they heavily impact the quality of life.

What Causes A Bad Smell In The Nose?

1. Acute and Chronic Sinusitis

Sinusitis is a commonly occurring health condition and is found affecting nearly 31 million people in the United States. (1)

It can be caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. The condition leads to symptoms such as sinus inflammation, nasal congestion that can interfere with the sense of smell of a person.

It can lead to discolored discharge from the nose that may lead to bad smell from the nose.

The condition can last for around 3-8 weeks and in chronic cases can also extend for more than 8 weeks.

2. Dental Issues

Cavities in the teeth are caused by bacteria that release unpleasant gas when they break down. These unpleasant gases travel up from the back of the mouth that connect to the sinuses and lead to a bad smell in the nose.

Poor oral hygiene can also increase the risk of bad smell or taste in the mouth.

Periodontitis is a condition in which there is a risk of developing plaque on the tooth and further inflammation of the tissue between the teeth. This can cause foul odor from the mouth and also from the nose.

3. Food Drink and Medications

All the food and drinks contain certain molecules that can stimulate the sense of smell.

The smell released from the foods are broken down in the body and digested. But there are a few foods as well as drugs that may linger in the mouth and cause an unpleasant smell. They include:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee
  • Phenothiazines
  • Amphetamines
  • Nitrates and nitrites

4. Dry Mouth

Saliva present in the mouth constantly removes unwanted particles and microbes and also neutralizes acids.

A person experiencing dry mouth has less saliva and may experience bad smell or taste in the mouth and nose.

Dry mouth can be due to the side effect of certain medications, a person is already taking.

A few factors causing dry mouth are:

5. Smoking and Tobacco Use

Tobacco contains certain chemicals that can weaken the teeth and gums and increase the risk of tooth and gum disease. It can give breath an unpleasant odor.

Smoking also decreases the smell and taste ability.

6. Phantosmia

Phantosmia is a condition in which people sense smell that is not present. It can occur after a respiratory infection or a head injury. The condition affects 10-20 percent of people with smell disorders. (2)

Certain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, and inflamed sinuses can also trigger phantom smell in the nose.

7. Digestive Conditions

There are certain digestive conditions such as acid reflux that can be a cause of bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth and nose.

Some other benign conditions such as diabetes, liver condition, and kidney disease can be a cause of bad smell in the nose.

How To Treat Bad Smell From Nose?

The first treatment to get rid of the bad smell from the nose is to treat the underlying cause.

    • Saltwater Rinse

Saltwater rinse can reduce the intensity of smell temporarily.

Boil some water and leave it to cool. Add one teaspoon of salt and baking soda into it. Clean your hands and stand over a sink and pour some of this water into the palms.

Lean over and sniff the mixture into one nostril and run it out. Keep the other nostril closed with a finger. Repeat with the other nostril and do it 4-5 times.

Dispose of the unused solution.

    • Stay Hydrated

Many conditions causing bad smell from nose have dehydration as a major cause.

The water requirement of the body also depends on age, activity level, and diet.

Those who find themselves suffering from dry mouth quite often can try sugar-free gums or candies for saliva production.

    • Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Following good dental hygiene can help treat the conditions that may lead to bad smell from mouth and nose.

    • Over-The-Counter Medications

Certain over-the-counter medications such as nasal decongestant spray and antihistamines can help get rid of bad smell from the nose.

Sinus or nasal infection lasting longer than 7-10 days would require antibiotic treatment.

Nasal corticosteroid sprays can reduce nasal and sinus inflammation.

Structural problems such as nasal bone defects, nasal polyps, and closed airways can be reversed by surgery.

In case of severe or chronic bad smell in nose that are not responding to home remedies should be brought to doctors notice for proper advice and treatment.

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