What's the difference between chronic halitosis and run-of-the-mill bad breath? Most people regularly get oral odor, but it must be often enough - or in the worst cases, continual - in order to qualify as a chronic problem, as it does for millions of elderly Americans.
The elderly naturally have a higher risk of experiencing halitosis, for a few reasons. The most intuitive is that they are more likely to suffer from tooth decay, dental plaque, gum disease and periodontitis.
If they still have teeth, that is. For people who have lost or had removed every single one of their pearly whites, chronic halitosis can still be caused by gingivitis and canker sores. Beyond that, long-lasting bad breath may crop up in edentulous (toothless) mouths for entirely different reasons.
For one thing, individuals who wear dentures must be sure to clean them every night by soaking them in a specialty breath freshening cleanser. Left unrinsed, dentures form the perfect environment for bacterial growth, since they are warm, dank and periodically coated with food and oils.
It's little wonder that forgetting to clean your dentures even once or twice can lead to chronic halitosis. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat it beyond merely rinsing and scrubbing one's false teeth.
Try gargling with a specialty breath freshening rinse once a night for at least 30 seconds at a stretch. Doing so can eliminate millions of harmful microbes, which do little more than feast on food particles and inflame your gums.
Likewise, a tongue scraper is a must, since much of the scum that forms on dentures slides off onto the closest available tissue in your mouth. Even once use can show you how unclean your tongue can be, since the inaugural use of a scraper typically rakes off large amounts of whitish material that causes chronic halitosis.