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Where does the odor on
the back of the tongue come from?
Although no one is sure, it appears that the origin of this material is post-nasal drip.
Many people (perhaps a quarter of the urban population) suffer from post-nasal drip. Many
of us don't even know we have it. In most cases,
it's not associated with any disease, but is rather more like an allergy. Most of the
mucus secretion rolls down the throat, but some of it may get stuck on the tongue.
And while it may not have a smell when it gets there, after hanging around for a few days,
the millions of bacteria on the tongue break it down, yielding foul smelling molecules.
Perhaps in more primitive societies the back of the tongue was cleansed by eating more
fibrous food than we do today. Whether or not this is true, the back of the tongue is a
major source of bad breath, and the odor which it gives off has a typical smell of its
Interestingly, some people with this problem don't have much bad breath when they just
blow air from their mouth. It's when they begin to talk that the odor makes itself
evident. Apparently, during speech, the passage of air over the active tongue tends to
intensify the odor.
Try Dr. Mel's new website: SmellWell.com