Sources of Bad Breath

Posted on Oct 15, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

We’ve all run into people who have “morning breath,” (the result of not brushing after the mouth has been closed all night while bacteria accumulates, developing a sticky film known as plaque). “Coffee breath” is another odor that can be offensive, which is the result of coffee’s drying tendency to oral tissues. Without sufficient saliva flow to give the mouth a natural cleansing, bacteria build and mix with the coffee scent to create a strong, unpleasant scent.

Dry mouth may also be a result of smoking or drinking alcohol. Other culprits are some medications, a problem with the salivary glands, or continual breathing through the mouth. Some diseases and illnesses can contribute to bad breath as well, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes, acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Morning breath, coffee breath and odors from eating foods like onions and garlic are temporary. Once you brush and rinse thoroughly, you can expect your breath to become more pleasant. Persistent bad breath, however, may be the a side effect of medication, an illness, or periodontal (gum) disease.

As a periodontal specialist, I’m very much aware of the distinct odor produced by gum disease. Although it varies slightly from person to person, it has a different scent than that of typical bad breath. The best way to determine gum disease as the true source is through a periodontal exam.

In addition to persistent bad breath, periodontal disease symptoms include gum tenderness, gums that bleed when brushing, and gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink.

It’s not unusual for adults to avoid much-needed dental care because of dental fears. Many adults carry with them traumatic dental experiences from the past all of their lives. Although new techniques and technology now create more comfortable procedures, a relationship of trust between the patient and his or her dentist is needed.

Oral sedation is one option that can help fearful patients have the dental treatment they need. This places the patient in a totally relaxed state and erases most memory of the procedure afterward.

Regardless of the source of unpleasant breath odor, it is imperative to one’s overall health to have and maintain good oral health. The bacteria of gum disease has been linked to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, memory loss, diabetes, impotency and others.

If you’re past due for dental care, call us at (828) 274-7440. You can begin with a Consultation to discuss your symptoms and have all your questions answered.

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