People of all ages suffer from bad breath, but not everyone knows that it can be a sign of gum disease or tooth decay. Recent research has shown that elderly people are often unaware of the symptoms of oral decay, even when those symptoms can be detected by any reasonably endowed nose.
A study published in the journal Gerodontology found that just two and a half percent of elderly patients associate halitosis with the increased likelihood of gum disease.
Researchers derived this figure from interviews conducted with more than 120 elderly participants, all of whom were partially dentate, meaning they had suffered some tooth loss.
The team found that some facts about cavities were fairly well known. More than three-quarters of respondents knew to connect cavities with poor dental health, and 68 percent of them said they had previously received clinical information about good tooth care.
However, less than a fifth of all participants could define gingivitis, and only one in 50 had any idea that halitosis can be associated with it.
Even though a significant amount of bad breath comes from the bacterial digestion of food particles on the tongue, plenty of oral odor also originates in inflamed gums and decaying teeth.
Reducing this form of halitosis means brushing vigilantly and using a specialty breath freshening product that moistens the mouth afterward.