Day 4: What the Nose Knew

Barbara Tritz
· June 4, 2023 ·

3 minutes

The Nose

In first grade my teacher would put poems on the black board and we always had to copy them down. The one I remember to this day:

My Nose

It doesn’t breathe.

It doesn’t smell.

It doesn’t feel so very well.

I am disgusted with my nose, the only thing it does is blows.

If only I knew then what I know now!

Nasal hygiene may be more important than oral hygiene! And that’s saying a lot, considering that’s coming from a dedicated biological dental hygienist! If the nose is congested, then the mouth becomes dry, and tooth decay and gum disease flourish. So, no matter how great you brush and floss, your oral health will decline and sometimes rapidly.

Nasal Hygienist

Nose hygiene- who knew there was such a thing? You blow your nose and that should do it, right? And then there is nose picking but we all know that’s a no-nose!

It’s cottonwood season here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, so that means it’s allergy season. which means allergy medications and lots of sniffling and congestion going on. Did you know your nose creates four cups of secretions on a good day, and even more when it’s allergy season or you are congested with a cold? That’s a lot of mucus.

A clogged nose makes nasal breathing so difficult and most folks just resort to mouth breathing. This affects sleep quality, taste receptors, and brain clarity. Hyposmia and picky eating starts when you can’t taste food. All respiratory problems start in the nose. It is a breeding ground for all the rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and other bacteria to then spread throughout the body. Practice daily nasal hygiene and you’ll reduce your risk of colds earaches and other nasties.

The nose has its own biofilm. Just like your teeth get covered in a plaque biofilm full of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, so does your nose! (In my office, we even put some snot on a microscope slide to actually see the biofilm bugs in action. So cool to see but I will spare you the video.) The sinus cavities are quite large and are lined with a sticky, gooey biofilm. Biofilms are hard to break up- just like on teeth!

The sinus cavity is full of bacteria, fungi, and viruses!

And, just like teeth, your sinus cavity would benefit from a daily cleansing so you and your child can use the nose to breathe. (Mouth breathing is not healthy breathing.) Nasal hygiene breaks up this biofilm, moisturizes the nose, and reduces the bad bugs so you stay healthier.

Nasal Hygiene

I like Xlear xylitol nasal spray (pronounced “CLEAR” Not “X’ lear, just FYI) but there are other saline sprays, iodine sprays, and of course, for the DIYer, a homebrewed concoction. Use what works best for you.

To clean your nose with Xlear or other sprays:

#1. Wash your hands (after three years of covid we should all do this without prompting but just in case you need a reminder)

#2. Gently blow your nose.

#3. Prime the saline/iodine or Xylitol bottle away from the face.

#4. Tip your head forward slightly. (NOT back)

#5. Inset the nozzle into the nostril.

#6. Aim the nozzle in a “W shape” (NOT straight back- that will just put the spray down the back of your throat) You want the solution to go to your sinus cavity so aim to the side of your nose.

#7. Spray gently

#8. Do not inhale (Again, that brings the solution down the throat)

#9. Dab your nostril with a tissue and repeat on the other side.

#10. Wash your hand again.

Now you know how to correctly use your nasal spray and clean your nose. Habit stack and do this in the shower so you do it daily!

Nasal hygiene daily – your nose will thank you. It “knows” how to work if you can just keep it clean. And now you know too.

Tomorrow we’ll talk more about breathing

Keep your nose clean 😉

Barbara Tritz

Queen of Nasal Hygiene

PS. For a more indepth review of nasal hygiene- click here.

Hello, I'm Barbara Tritz

Unveiling the Stories Behind Dental Hygiene

Loving science, especially biology, from an early age, Barbara is a registered dental hygienist, certified biological hygienist, and orofacial myofunctional therapist. In 2019, she received the Hu-Friedy/ADHA Master Clinician Award from the American Dental Hygienist Association.

Share your thoughts below!


  1. Jackie Lindrup

    I love these daily messages and am learning, and sending some of them on to my grown up kids!

  2. Dee

    I’m going to tell my friend about the nasal hygiene, as her baby grandson in Scotland has been poorly for months with ear and throat infections. he’s not thriving as he won’t eat food with lumps as it hurts his throat. Repeated antibiotics from the GP haven’t helped. The mum’s paid £200 for a private paediatric ENT 20 minute consultation to see if he needs eg grommets, tonsil or adenoid surgery etc, as the NHS would not even have a consultant appt till next year.

    • Barbara Tritz

      Hello Dee,
      Thank you. Here’s the story of why they invented Xlear.
      The other thing to ask the grandmother: is the baby feed lying down? If so, the milk can flow into the inner ear. Feed the baby so their head is above the level of the stomach to prevent the Eustachian tubes from getting blocked by the fluid.
      Has the baby been checked for tongue tie/lip ties? My daughter is studying to become an IBCLC. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Since this group is international, I wonder if they have one near your friend’s grandson. IBCLCs would be able to screen for a tongue or lip tie.
      My last suggestion is Melanie Potuck, a feeding expert.
      Hope these tips help him. Please let me know,
      Thank you for reaching out and sharing my post.



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