What Your Bad Breath Could Be Saying About Your Oral Health

Bad breath is a common part of the human experience. When it comes to the influence of food and drink, it’s usually a temporary issue. Brush your teeth, have a mint, or rinse with mouthwash, and there’s little sign of coffee, garlic, or onions — three big contributors to less-than-pleasant breath. 

When bad breath becomes chronic, a condition known as halitosis, it’s time to investigate further. While it’s not always the cause of halitosis, the first place to start is your oral hygiene routine. The team at RR Dentistry in Georgetown, Texas, can help with an exam and cleaning and review your health history to uncover the true origins of your bad breath. 

Causes of halitosis

Food and drink are the most obvious culprits, but as noted, these usually create temporary, limited issues that might follow a tasty but strong-smelling indulgence. Smokers have an added layer of odor as well as an increased risk of gum disease, which also carries bad breath as a symptom. 

If you have the dreaded “morning breath,” you’re familiar with the effects of dry mouth. Overnight mouth breathing is common, but a condition called xerostomia reduces the amount of saliva your body generates, leading to chronic dry mouth. 

Medications can sometimes contribute to halitosis, either by causing dry mouth or by releasing odor-causing chemicals as they metabolize. Infections, inflammation, and other conditions of the mouth, nose, and throat can contribute to halitosis. Even acid reflux can leave your breath at less than its best. 

Oral hygiene

When you first notice persistent bad breath, reviewing your brushing and flossing routine is the first step. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day and cleaning between teeth once a day

While flossing is the go-to method for interdental cleaning, alternatives include oral irrigators, floss picks, interdental brushes, and toothpick-style cleaners. Getting your oral care game in place is the first step in controlling bad breath, but beware: It’s possible to overbrush

Gum disease

You may be in the first stages of gum disease if your bad breath occurs alongside gums that bleed easily and regularly during brushing or flossing. This is the mild form of gum disease called gingivitis, and one of its primary symptoms is halitosis. 

Gum disease is often progressive, requiring a concerted effort between you and your RR Dentistry provider. We’re specialists in periodontal cleaning and therapy, so we can help you get back on track once gum disease begins. For patients with advanced periodontitis, we often recommend scaling and root planing

Bad breath can also occur due to mouth problems that aren’t related to oral hygiene. Often, it’s your dentist who first spots these medical issues, so visiting the dentist’s office twice annually also protects you against these less common sources of bad breath. There’s no substitute for regular dental exams.

Keep your oral health on track with a visit to RR Dentistry. You can book a visit online or by phone, so touch base with us today to schedule your next appointment.

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