It’s not unusual to wake up with bad breath – morning breath – but a quick brush and perhaps mouth rinse and you’re ready to face the day. It’s also normal to have occasional bad breath from the foods you eat, such as that garlicky pasta you had for lunch.
However, if you find you’re struggling with halitosis on a virtually constant basis, it may be a sign that the health of your mouth is less than its best. Bad breath is often a symptom of gum disease.
Plaque and tartar: infecting agents
Your mouth is normally filled with bacteria. It’s the main entryway into your body, where you take in fuel in the form of food. The process of digestion starts in your mouth as chewing and saliva begin breaking down food, which continues in your stomach and intestines. Brushing and flossing minimize the bacteria that remain behind, though it’s often a losing battle.
Even with the best home care routine, plaque, a sticky paste that forms on your teeth, and its hardened version called tartar, can build up, usually at the gum line. When this happens, it takes special dental cleaning techniques to remove these when they creep between teeth and gums.
When this condition is allowed to linger and grow worse, the result is an irritation of gum tissue, called periodontal disease, or gum disease. Gingivitis is a mild form, and it can progress into periodontitis, the more advanced version.
Your breath as an indicator
Though it isn’t the only symptom, persistent bad breath is often a major sign of the infection’s activity. Your mouth may feel sour even shortly after brushing, and you could be reaching for gum, mints, or other fresheners throughout the day in an effort to mask the taste and smell.
There are other signs that could indicate gum disease when they occur simultaneously with bad breath. The most common symptoms include:
- Puffy gums that are red rather than pink
- Gums that bleed easily when brushing and flossing
- Tender gums
- Discomfort or pain when chewing
- Teeth are sensitive to hot or cold food and drink
- Gums recede, making some teeth appear longer
- Teeth become noticeably loose
If several of these are present with bad breath, periodontal disease is likely the culprit.
The advancing infection
Without treatment, plaque and tartar allow bacteria to form pockets between teeth and gums. These pockets are ideal habitats for further bacterial growth that’s protected from much of your dental hygiene efforts.
Growing bacteria feed off the tissue in your mouth, teeth, gums, and eventually even into the bone of your jaw, threatening the roots of your teeth and contributing to tooth loss. Advanced cases can even spread infection through your bloodstream to the rest of your body.
Only intervention by a dentist like Dr. Juan Carrillo can stop the advance of gum disease, restoring proper gum attachment to your teeth, while controlling the associated breath problem.
If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, call Dr. Carrillo’s office in Richmond, Virginia, or use the online booking tool to schedule a consultation. Dr. Carrillo and his team can diagnose and treat gum disease at any stage. Bacteria won’t wait and neither should you, so contact the office today.