Bad breath can be an annoyance…or something more serious. When it is temporary, it may be enough to pop in some sugar free gum or rinse with a minty mouthwash. In cases where bad breath hangs around, or returns quickly after you rinse, gargle or brush, there may be something more troubling at work. Two causes of chronic bad breath are gingivitis and tooth decay. Periodontal diseases can also cause bad breath. If you are bothered by breath odor, please make an appointment so we can make a diagnosis and help you address the problem.
Bad Breath from Minor Gum Infection
If you have noticed gums that bleed occasionally when you brush or floss, or gums that feel tender and look puffy, you may have early stage gum disease. This early stage is called gingivitis, and it is your body’s signal that food particles are hanging around in your mouth after eating. These particles make their way between the teeth and gums, where bacteria can grow. Early stage gingivitis can sometimes be reversed by carefully attending to your oral care routine at home. Brush at least twice a day, and use dental floss daily to clean between teeth. We are happy to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing procedures — just ask!
Bad Breath from Periodontitis
Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. This is a more serious stage of gum infection, and cannot be addressed at home. We have several in-office methods, such as scaling, root planing and prescribing antibiotics, that we use to help restore your gums to health. Patients with a history of periodontal issues come in for more frequent checkups, so we can keep a careful eye on their gums.
Bad Breath from Tooth Decay
A troubled tooth can cause persistent bad breath. You may also notice pain, but this is not always the case. If we find a cavity, we can address it by cleaning the decay and repairing the tooth with a filling or crown. In some cases, if the infection has penetrated deeply, root canal therapy may be necessary to save the tooth. Although root canal procedures are often joked about as being highly uncomfortable, the reality is you will be numbed during the procedure. You will end up with a mouth that feels better. Once an infected tooth is addressed, unpleasant breath odor will very likely subside.