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Your Bad Breath Might Be From A More Serious Dental Condition

Chronic bad breath, referred to as halitosis by the medical community, is a result of many factors. Some causes of halitosis are mild and can easily be solved, while persistent bad breath could be a sign of a more serious medical problem, especially if it lingers regardless of good oral hygiene practices. Less serious causes of bad breath include:

Poor oral hygiene - Don't like to brush or floss? Keep in mind that bacteria grow in your mouth and feed off particles of food left there. This bacteria forms a sticky substance, commonly referred to as plaque, that coats your teeth and gums. The more plaque builds up, the worse your mouth will smell. Fortunately, frequent brushing can eliminate bad breath caused by plaque.

Strong foods - Pungent foods, such as onion and garlic, have a very strong odor that seeps into the bloodstream and comes out in your lungs, tainting your breath. The smell will not leave your breath until the food has been fully digested, but brushing your teeth can cover up the odor temporarily.  

Smoking or chewing tobacco - The use of tobacco products not only makes your breath smell unpleasant, but they also stain your teeth and damage your gums. It's recommended that you avoid tobacco products to maintain good oral health.

Less serious causes of bad breath are easy to fix. If you have good hygiene habits but your bad breath still remains, it could be a sign of something more serious. Some of the more severe causes of halitosis are as follows:

Gum disease - Plaque-causing bacteria can get underneath the gums even with regular brushing and flossing,. This causes the gums (and potentially the bones) holding the teeth to decay and recede, leading to tooth loss. Persistent halitosis is often an indication that gum disease is underway.

Cavities - When the enamel of the teeth develops holes, bacteria can get inside and produce plaque that can’t be brushed away. This bacteria can also cause tooth decay if the cavity gets deep enough. This can negatively affect your breath, indicating that there’s a serious problem.

Poor-fitting dental fixtures - If dentures and other dental appliances don’t fit properly, bacteria can make it's way into the gaps. If left unchecked, teeth and gums are in danger of cavities and gum disease.

Mouth diseases - Bad breath can be caused by mouth disorders such as yeast infections, dry mouth, or respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia. While these diseases are often accompanied by more noticeable symptoms, halitosis can be an early symptom that that a serious disease is present.

There are many causes of halitosis. Some symptoms of bad breath can be erased with simple oral hygiene, while persistent halitosis may indicate a more serious problem. If you are currently suffering from bad breath or would like to prevent it from occurring, contact the experts at Oak Ridge Dental Arts today for an examination. We're dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy mouth and a happy smile.