Why does breath smell after adenoidectomy?

If you’ve recently had an adenoidectomy, you might have noticed that your breath smells worse than a bag of rotting bananas left out in the sun. What’s up with that? Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. In this article, we’ll explore why your mouth smells like the inside of a dumpster after an adenoidectomy and what you can do about it.

What is an Adenoidectomy?

First things first: let’s talk about what exactly an adenoidectomy is. Your adenoids are small masses of tissue located at the back of your nasal cavity. They help trap germs as they enter your body and produce antibodies to fight off infections. However, sometimes they can become enlarged or infected themselves, leading to breathing problems, snoring, and chronic ear infections.

An adenoidectomy involves removing these troublesome tissues through either surgical excision or radiofrequency ablation (RFA). This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and takes around 30 minutes to complete.

The Nose Knows

So now we know what an adenoidectomy is – but how does it lead to stinky breath? To understand that, we need to take a quick dive into the wonderful world of olfaction (that’s fancy-speak for “smell”).

When you breathe through your nose (which should be much easier post-adenoidectomy), air passes over olfactory receptors in your nasal cavity which send signals directly to your brain via the olfactory nerve. These receptors are responsible for detecting different types of smells – everything from freshly baked cookies to dog poop on the sidewalk.

However (and here comes some uncommon terminology), odor molecules also interact with other parts along their journey from nostril-to-brain: specifically olfactory epithelium, oral microbiota,saliva secretion,pH alterations,anaerobic bacteria and many others.

The Oral Microbiome

Not all smells are created equal, of course. Some we find pleasant; others, not so much. So why does an adenoidectomy tend to create particularly pungent odors?

One factor is the oral microbiota, or the collection of microbes that live in your mouth (yes, you’re never really alone). These bacteria play a crucial role in breaking down food particles and producing substances like acid and sulfur compounds.

During an adenoidectomy, there can be some bleeding – this happens because the tissues that have been removed are often very vascularized (meaning they contain lots of blood vessels). This blood mixes with saliva and oral bacteria, creating a potent cocktail of stinkiness.

Sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide can produce bad breath even after brushing your teeth well. They generally make up around 90% of bad breath odor following adenoid surgery.
The imbalance on pH due to reduced mucus produced by removing adenoids also creates anaerobic conditions which favours other microorganisms responsible for halitosis production

What Can You Do?

So now you know what’s causing your post-adenoidectomy funk – but how can you get rid of it? Here are some tips:

Brush & Floss

This should go without saying: maintaining good oral hygiene is key to fighting off bacterial growth in your mouth that causes nasty breath odor.

Gargle Your Mouth

Gargling with salt water or baking soda solution may help neutralize any lingering sulfuric molecules or alleviate dryness in th throat

Stay Hydrated

Remember to drink plenty fluids — Water helps keep oral tissues moist; eating foods rich on vitamin C stimulates salivary secretion;

Cleanse Your Sinuses

It’s important to use saline nasal rinses frequently especially at the early stages before allowing crusts formation in the surgical area

Give it Time

Remember, your body has just undergone a significant trauma. Give yourself at least two weeks for hormones/glucocorticoids imbalance due to surgery and microbial adaptation after surgery before expecting any wholesome improvement in bad breath


Bad breath following an adenoidectomy is very common and often caused by a mix of blood and oral bacteria mixing together with saliva. The good news is that it’s usually temporary, so don’t despair – with proper brushing/flossing habits, hydration + gargling medicinal mouth washes , plenty of water intake/ frequent saline nasal sprays; your post-adenoidectomy halitosis will eventually disappear into the ether (or wherever odors go when they’re gone) with patience.

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