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The Connection Between Allergies, Dry Mouth and Bad Breath


Allergies are the worst: itchy eyes, sinus congestion, sneezing – and, at least for some people, dry mouth and bad breath. LISTERINE® asked consumers how allergies affect their oral care, and the message was clear: Allergies stink.

A graph of conditions people suffer as a result of seasonal allergies: 52% Post Nasal Drip, 44% Dry Mouth, 31% Bad Breath

Nearly one third (31 percent) of respondents to the online LISTERINE® survey said they experience bad breath as a result of seasonal allergies, and a whopping 44 percent said they have dry mouth from allergies. Even more respondents (52 percent) said that allergies cause postnasal drip. Both dry mouth and postnasal drip can lead to bad breath.

That’s because one of the many jobs of saliva is to whisk away bacteria and leftover food particles; when your mouth is dry and low on saliva, that bacteria and debris stay put. The bacteria then starts to break down food debris, creating odor.

Woman with bad breath covering her mouth

While there’s no clear-cut solution for postnasal drip (the FDA doesn’t actually recognize it as a physical symptom), if you experience dry mouth or bad breath with your seasonal allergies, here’s what you can do to combat them:

  • Dry Mouth: Keep saliva flowing by drinking plenty of water and eating foods that require a lot of chewing, like apples and carrots.
  • Bad Breath: In addition to regularly brushing, rinsing with mouthwash and flossing (ahem), drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and wash away food particles and bacteria. And when you brush, don’t forget your tongue.

Whether or not you experience seasonal allergies, the best way to get rid of bad breath is to always maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and using mouthwash, like LISTERINE® COOL MINT® Antiseptic Mouthwash, or using LISTERINE® POCKETPAKS® when you’re on the go.

With the exception of the LISTERINE® Brand, all links to third-party sources in this content are provided are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. This article includes information from the Mayo Clinic and the American Dental Association.

© Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019