Few things are more off-putting in social relationships than bad breath (halitosis). It is fairly common for people suffering from bad breath to not even realize they have a problem. Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, such as eating foods with a strong odor (e.g. garlic or onions), tooth decay, indigestion, smoking, metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes), and tongue bacterium.
Gum Disease and Bad Breath
One of the primary sources of halitosis is 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 people shy away when you talk to them, a likely culprit is gingivitis. If left untreated, this mild gum disease can lead to more serious periodontal gum disease (periodontitis).
The Role of Plaque and Tartar
The number one cause of gum disease is the buildup of oral plaque, which typically results from poor oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar are the terms used to describe the residue of food particles and dead tissue building up between the teeth and gums. If proper attention is not given to removing this buildup, it 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. Eventually, this can cause more serious consequences including bleeding gums, chronic oral infections, and tooth loss.
Stages of Gum Disease
In the early stages of gum disease, plaque buildup inflames the gums. It is common at this stage to experience bleeding gums when brushing your teeth. Other signs include red, inflamed, or puffy gums without bleeding, receding gums, and changes in your bite. Even if you don't exhibit any of these symptoms, there may be some degree of gum disease. It’s important to see your dentist regularly to detect symptoms of early gum disease. He or she can recommend effective treatment to prevent gingivitis from progressing.
In the later stages of gum disease, plaque can irritate the inner gum layers in such a way that the underlying bone begins to pull away from the teeth. This can cause small spaces (pockets) to form between the teeth and gums. Bacteria that spreads further into these pockets can cause an infection and undermine the structural integrity of teeth.
Gum bacteria can migrate to other parts of the mouth, including your tongue. The tongue is a major sensory organ and its surface is grooved with taste buds. Food, dry epithelial cells, and nasal secretions can easily become trapped in these grooves, providing a perfect substrate for the proliferation of halitosis-causing bacteria. In fact, some scientists believe the tongue is the culprit for 90% of all bad breath.
Gum Disease Bad Breath Treatment
Many people with gum disease bad breath try to cover the bad odor with commercial mouthwashes and toothpastes. These products are ineffective at relieving symptoms. Mouthwashes merely provide a chemical overlay to mask the odor, which can be more offensive than untreated bad breath. Moreover, they often contain alcohol, which dries out the mouth and further exacerbates bad breath.
The best advice is to follow good oral hygiene to prevent problematic gums. If you already have issues with your gums, it is even more crucial to improve your oral hygiene. A number of lifestyle changes and healthy habits can also help prevent gingivitis, including:
- Vigorous brushing with a soft brush two times a day minimum
- Flossing at least twice a day
- Limiting dietary sugar (candy, sweets, and sugary drinks)
- Quitting smoking
The American Dental Association recommends professional cleanings and a routine dental checkup twice a year. During this checkup, your dentist will check for more subtle signs of bleeding gums, along with swelling and pockets. Professional cleanings remove plaque residue, which helps improves mouth odor.
Fight Gum Disease with Good Oral Care
If gum disease isn't far advanced, good oral hygiene habits can reverse it. Your dentist can provide additional recommendations, which may include professional cleanings every 3 months instead of twice yearly.
Regular use of TheraBreath oral rinses helps balance the pH of your mouth, thereby reducing acid and the growth of bacteria. Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), a powerful ingredient in some oral care products, fights the viruses, fungi, and multiple types of bacteria responsible for oral health problems. Try the following effective products to fight gingivitis.
TheraBreath Healthy Gums Oral Rinse: This advanced formula mouthwash contains CPC, an FDA approved ingredient that helps prevents gum disease and halitosis. Use this extra-strength rinse to reverse gingivitis, stop bleeding gums, and keep your gums healthy.
TheraBreath Periotherapy Toothpaste: Fortified with zinc and xylitol, this extra strength toothpaste helps destroy bad breath bacteria and conditions gums and oral tissue.
Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care professional before beginning any new therapy.