Halitosis, more simply known as bad breath, is one of those awkward and embarrassing things that happen to all of us at one time or another. There’s the all too familiar morning breath, and of course, those times when garlic or onion smells emanate from our mouth providing a dead giveaway of the last meal. But if your occasional bad breath turns into an everyday thing, could it be a sign of periodontal disease?
Kavitha Gowda, DDS, at Perfect Smiles Dentistry located in Everett, Washington, answers with a resounding yes! Dr. Gowda shares her insights on bad breath and periodontal disease to help you better understand the connection and why it’s important.
So let’s take a deep dive into what periodontal disease is and why you should care about it. First, periodontal disease or gum disease is a pretty common dental issue. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 64.7 million Americans, or half of the U.S. population aged 30 or greater, suffer from periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security over the prevalence of periodontal disease. Just because a lot of people have it doesn’t mean that it’s not a serious issue. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances are that damage to your gums can be reversed. If left untreated, periodontal disease can permanently destroy gum and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. Yes, among other things, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss.
Harmful bacteria or trapped food
In some real ways, chronic bad breath can be your wake up call that something serious is going on. In many cases, the actual cause of the odor is the bacteria in the plaque that naturally happens in your mouth. Plaque can build up and produce acids that can damage tooth enamel, cause cavities, or ultimately lead to gum disease. Trapped food between teeth can also contribute to bad breath.
Dry mouth adds to the problem
Dry mouth can also factor into the bad breathe equation. If you suffer from dry mouth due to medications you take or medical issues like diabetes, it’s difficult to keep your mouth moist. The saliva in your mouth helps to wash away dead cells and combat the acids that plaque creates. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and ask our team at Perfect Smiles Dentistry for recommendations on dry mouth rinses and other products that can help keep your mouth moist and fresh.
Vigilant at-home care and professional cleanings
It’s important to note that you play a big role in whether plaque continues to build up and ultimately leads to gum disease and chronic bad breath. Good at-home care like brushing your teeth and flossing will not only combat plaque build-up, but it also wards off bad breath — definitely a win-win.
And don’t forget to make and keep your regular dental appointments. Dr. Gowda recommends one to two professional cleanings per year or more if you have gum disease. These appointments greatly enhance your at-home care by removing plaque buildup that you can’t. It’s also an additional opportunity for Dr. Gowda and our team to not only get your teeth squeaky clean, preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but also to catch up with you so that we can better meet all your dental needs.
If you have bad breath and are concerned about whether you have gum disease, make an appointment at Perfect Smiles Dentistry. We offer a safe, welcoming setting where you can feel comfortable and address all your dental concerns. Book your appointment online or call today.