The American Dental Association states that one of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease is bad breath. On the strength of pronouncements like this, thousands of people get dental checkups in order to prevent the disease, as well as to do something about their halitosis.
But what if the connection between oral odor and periodontitis weren't so clear-cut? An editorial published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology explored the notion that periodontal disease and bad breath may naturally come together, without necessarily being closely related.
The crux of the article focuses on the difference between correlation and causation. Basically, some researchers have found weak or absent associations between the disease - which is a sort of super-gingivitis that loosens teeth over time - and oral odor.
How is this possible? In the editorial, the author noted that many people who develop periodontitis have poor dental hygiene. Therefore, these individuals likely have periodontal disease in addition to, rather than because of, bad breath.
Still, cleaning one's mouth is critical to maintaining good oral health. Specialty breath fresheners can help neutralize oral odor and clean teeth at the same time.