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Does Fear Cause Bad Breath

12 Nov, 2015

Does Fear Cause Bad Breath

It sounds like something out of a movie: A person is being chased by some unknown terror through a dark and terrifying house, running from floor to floor, room to room, panicking, with sweaty palms, a racing heart, and their eyes wide open. As we watch this unfold on the screen, there may be another symptom of fear that we cannot detect - bad breath! This may seem surprising and unlikely, but there may be more to it than we think. This article will discuss fear and stinky breath and will determine if fear is the cause like it is theorized.
Let us first look at what happens to the body when we are afraid. Fear causes an immediate and drastic physiological reaction as a survival mechanism. Hormones, such as adrenaline, are dumped into your body, which causes an almost immediate increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Your senses temporarily become more alert as your body engages in the "fight or flight" response, and you experience a surge of energy. This response allows you to defend yourself if appropriate, but it takes a toll on your body in the long run. Bad breath may actually be a part of this.
Foul smelling odors from the mouth are very frequently caused by a dry mouth. When your body is stressed because of fear, your mouth goes dry - have you ever noticed this? This is because the glands that produce saliva dry up, making it difficult the mouth to clean itself. Bacteria then pile up in your mouth, causing noxious odors that result in the unpleasant smell we all know and hate. Of course, bad breath is not anywhere close to the most unpleasant or stressful result of fear in your body, but it is something that is interesting enough to pursue.
So, it appears that fear does cause bad breath, at least on the surface. You can, of course, be afraid without triggering bad breath, because there are multiple levels of reaction to fear and stress. And each person may be different, with some people getting bad breath because of stress and fear and others not experiencing this effect. On the whole, though, fear appears to result in bad breath in many cases. The next time you are watching a scary movie and want to snuggle up with your significant other for protection, be warned: you may drive them away with your breath! (Do not worry, though. A good brushing can clear it up!)


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