Everyone develops bad breath on occasion, and many causes are no big deal. But if the symptoms are severe or long-lasting and linger on even after brushing your teeth, they may be a sign of periodontal disease. Also known as gum disease, this condition can progress to potentially serious complications, including tooth damage and loss. Early diagnosis and treatment can help stave off these risks while keeping your breath fresh, too.
If you think it’s unlikely, think again. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 47% of adults age 30 and older have some level of periodontal disease. To find out if your bad breath is a sign that you’re among them, contact Cityview Dental Arts or request an appointment on our website.
Bad breath causes
Bad breath from particular foods, such as onions and garlic, derives from compounds in the foods. You might also notice changes in the smell of your breath, urine, and sweat after consuming odor-producing foods. In these cases, your breath will likely improve after a good mouth cleanse or chewing a stick of gum. The smell may go away once the food has moved through your digestive system, too. Smoking, chewing tobacco, certain medications, dry mouth, and tonsil stones can also fuel bad breath.
When none of these factors are to blame for your unappealing breath, you may have a bacterial problem in your mouth. Bacteria problems occur when food particles remain lodged between your teeth and gums, making way for the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and dental issues, such as periodontal disease.
Signs of periodontal disease
When harmful bacteria build up in your mouth, it can lead to plaque, which is extremely tough to get rid of through brushing and flossing. As the condition worsens, the presence of plaque can cause your gum tissues to separate from your teeth, forming pockets. These pockets can attract more bacteria, triggering inflammation and related symptoms. This condition is known as periodontal disease.
In addition to bad breath, gum disease can cause:
- Gums that bleed during flossing
- Gum tenderness or sensitivity to hot or cold
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Lost teeth, if it goes untreated
- Swollen gums that may appear darker in color than usual
- Teeth that look longer than usual as your gums recede
Preventing and treating periodontal disease
Bad breath caused by periodontal disease will diminish once the condition is corrected. In most cases, surgery isn’t needed. If you’re showing early signs or risk factors for gum disease, Dr. Bock may only recommend professional deep cleanings at least twice a year. With proper hygiene habits at home, including brushing and flossing well daily, these steps may help guard against more serious issues.
Once you have full-fledged periodontal disease, you may benefit most from scaling and root planing. This process aggressively eliminates plaque and bacteria buildup, both above and below your gum line. From there, we use special instruments to smooth the surface of your teeth’s roots, making them less prone to gathering bacteria.
More severe cases of periodontal disease may require more invasive procedures, such as surgery and implants, to remove lost or severely damaged teeth. Dr. Bock will help determine your best treatment plan, based on the condition of your teeth and gums.
Learn much more by calling Cityview Dental Arts or requesting an appointment on our website. Our team of experts prevent and treat periodontal disease and help people of all ages enjoy improved dental health.