Bad breath isn’t uncommon. In fact, most of us experience it at least once, sometimes as a result of foods or drinks that are especially odiferous — like coffee, onions, or garlic, for instance.
In those instances, brushing, flossing, and a little mouthwash are typically all we need to freshen up. But if your bad breath is chronic or recurrent, there’s a good chance it’s caused by gum disease, and that means it’s time to see the dentist.
As a top-rated dentist in Stamford, Connecticut, Tatiana Barton, DDS diagnoses gum disease through comprehensive dental exams, providing targeted treatments aimed at improving gum health. In this post, Dr. Barton highlights the connection between gum disease and chronic bad breath.
Also called periodontal disease, gum disease is extremely common, affecting about half of American adults age 30 and older. By age 65, nearly three-quarters of people have some form of gum disease.
Gum disease happens when bacteria that are already present in your mouth collect along your gum line, usually encased in a layer of sticky plaque. As these bacteria multiply, they release toxic byproducts that irritate your gums and cause gum tissue to recede.
Over time, gum recession allows bacteria to reach deeper parts of your teeth. When bacteria travel to the tooth roots, they can weaken the tooth and cause tooth loss, along with more advanced infections.
The byproducts released by bacteria don’t just irritate your gums: They release foul odors, too. These odors are the primary cause of bad breath associated with gum disease. Every time you speak, those odors escape.
You can also develop bad breath if gum disease causes infections that produce pus. Pus is a byproduct of the infection process, containing dead blood cells, dead tissue, and other smelly products.
In fact, gum disease is such a common cause of chronic bad breath, it has its own nickname: perio breath. And unlike bad breath caused by smelly foods and drinks, bad breath from gum disease can’t be “fixed” by brushing and gargling.
Dr. Barton offers an array of treatments for gum disease, depending on the stage of the disease. For very mild disease in its early stages, many people benefit from more frequent cleanings to get rid of plaque and bacteria and prevent gum recession.
For more advanced gum disease, Dr. Barton recommends deeper cleaning techniques designed to reach below the gum line and remove bacteria all along the tooth surface, including the root. Very advanced disease may require gum disease surgery to treat the infection and restore damaged gums.
Gum disease may be a relatively common cause of chronic bad breath, but other issues can cause bad breath, too. To find out why your breath is less than pleasant, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Barton today.