Nearly half of adults age 30 or older in the US have an advanced form of periodontal disease known as periodontitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many more have milder periodontal disease called gingivitis, which can easily progress if it’s not addressed. If you struggle with chronic bad breath, you could be among these populations. If so, our expert team is here to help.
Here at Couture Smiles Dental Group in Woodland Hills, California, we see patients for a range of dental, periodontal, and endodontic issues, including gum disease, and can provide a customized treatment plan to address your specific issues. To learn more, see our guide below on the causes and symptoms of periodontal disease, and how to know when it’s time to pay us a visit.
How periodontal disease develops
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, happens when inflammation affects the hard and soft structures supporting your teeth. During early stages, your gums become red and swollen from the inflammation, which is a natural response to harmful bacteria. As it progresses, your gums pull away from your teeth as affected gum tissue is destroyed. In severe cases, it leads to bone and tooth loss.
Risk factors for developing periodontal disease include:
- Family history of gum disease
- Medications, such as certain blood pressure and seizure medications
- Poor dietary habits
- Poor dental hygiene
How periodontal disease causes bad breath
In addition to other symptoms, such as bleeding, tender, or swollen gums, bad breath commonly derives from gum disease. If you don’t floss and brush your teeth well daily, food bits can remain in your mouth, leading to bad breath. Over time, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria called plaque develops on your teeth. If you don’t brush it away sufficiently or often enough, plaque can irritate your gums and form pockets between your gums and teeth. At this point, bad breath is likely to be one of numerous gum disease symptoms.
Periodontal disease treatment
If you notice signs of periodontal disease, such as chronic bad breath, schedule a dental exam or cleaning. Your dentist will likely be able to assess whether you have periodontal disease through visual assessment and by testing the depth of any pockets with a special probe.
Proper diagnosis is important, as bad breath can stem from other causes, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease and various infections. If you do have gum disease, early treatment can help lower your risk for complications, such as tooth loss.
When to see your dentist
If chronic bad breath is your only noticeable symptom, try improving your oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth and tongue after eating, flossing once a day, and staying well-hydrated may help. If your breath doesn’t improve or you notice other symptoms, such as gum redness or bleeding, see your dentist. Even without gum disease symptoms, most people should aim for two professional cleanings per year. Doing so can lower your odds of gum disease, ensure that early signs are detected and treated, and improve your overall dental health.
Learn more about gum disease by calling Couture Smiles Dental Group or sending us a message through our website.