Few things are more off-putting in social relationships than bad breath or halitosis. Bad breath can be all the more devastating because many of the worst sufferers appear to be completely unaware of their condition. Be honest with yourself: Can you recognize yourself here?
Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, such as eating foods like garlic that have a strong odor. Tooth decay, indigestion, smoking, or metabolic diseases like diabetes, are also leading causes. A bacterium on the human tongue, which is spread from other parts of the mouth, is also a proponent of bad breath. The primary source, however, is often odor-causing bacteria that can lead to undiagnosed gum disease. Unhealthy gums provide a medium for these bacteria to reproduce and multiply. If you notice a persistent bad taste in your mouth, or that people are shying away from you when you speak to them, a likely culprit is gingivitis, which if not treated can advance to periodontal gum disease.
How Bad Gums Cause Bad Breath
The number one cause of gum disease is the buildup of oral plaque, which can lead to poor oral hygiene.
Plaque and tartar are terms used to describe the residue of food particles and dead tissue, which build up between teeth and the gums. If proper attention is not paid to removing them, they can cause a myriad of issues. If teeth are not brushed and flossed regularly, plaque becomes a medium for anaerobic bacteria that can lead to bad breath and eventually more serious consequences including gum bleeding, chronic oral infections, and even tooth loss.
In the early stages of gum disease, plaque buildup inflames the gums. You may notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth. Other signs include red, inflamed, or puffy gums without bleeding, along with receding gums and changes in your bite. Even if you don't exhibit any of these symptoms, you may still be suffering from some degree of gum disease. Your dentist will be able to recognize the symptoms and determine what treatment will be most effective.
In the later stages of gum disease, plaque can actually irritate your inner gum layers in such a way that the underlying bone begins to pull away from your teeth. This can form small spaces between the teeth and the gums called pockets. Bacteria that spreads further into these pockets, causes infection and undermines the structural integrity of your teeth.
Bacteria from bad gums will migrate to other parts of your mouth, including the tongue, which some scientists believe is the culprit behind 90 percent of all bad breath. The tongue is one of our major sensory organs; its surface is grooved with taste buds. Food, dry epithelial cells, and nasal secretions can easily become trapped in those grooves, providing a perfect substrate for the proliferation of halitosis-causing bacteria.
Treatment For Bad Breath Caused By Bad Gums
Many people with bad breath caused by bad gums seek to cover the foul odor with commercial mouthwashes and toothpastes. This will not relieve the symptoms. Mouthwashes merely provide a chemical overlay to the odor, which can be even more offensive than untreated bad breath alone.
The most effective way to treat bad gums is through prevention. Vigorous brushing and flossing at least twice a day can prevent buildup of plaque, which is the number one cause of bad gums. Regular use of an antibacterial product like any of TheraBreath's Oral Rinses, the only antacid mouthwashes on the market, will help balance the pH of your mouth. This cuts down on the proliferation of the anaerobic bacteria that cause both plaque and halitosis.
Gum disease is often related to behaviors like smoking, eating an excessive amount of sweets, or stress that can cause you to grind your teeth. Smokers are seven times more likely than nonsmokers to develop gingivitis symptoms. Smoking cessation and other lifestyle changes will certainly improve unhealthy gums and bad breath.
The American Dental Association recommends professional cleanings and a routine dental checkup twice each year. During this checkup, your dentist will check for more subtle signs of bleeding gums, along with swelling and pockets that you may not have noticed yourself. Professional cleanings remove plaque residue, which improves mouth odor.
More advanced stages of gum disease can be treated with scaling and root planing, which is a procedure that scrapes away plaque residue and tartar beneath the gum lines.
When gum disease is extremely advanced, it may require a surgical intervention called pocket reduction surgery. During this procedure, the gums are actually lifted from the teeth and the underlying bone is smoothed so that the gums will fit tightly around the teeth without pockets. Grafted tissue from the roof of the mouth can be used to fill in spaces where gums have completely receded.
Fight Bad Breath by Preventing Gum Disease
One of the chief causes of bad breath is unhealthy gums.
If your gum disease isn't far advanced, you can turn it around by improving your oral hygiene. Speak to your dentist for more information. In addition to brushing and flossing more vigorously and often, your dentist may recommend that you have your teeth professionally cleaned every three months. This is opposed to every six months, which may be too long to wait in between visits. Regular use of a product like TheraBreath's PerioTherapy Oral Rinse mouthwash can help fight germs as well.