If you notice people moving away when you talk, could it be because of bad breath? Often the offender is the last to know.
Halitosis — the medical term for chronic bad breath — is more often an indicator of an underlying issue than simply having a surplus of raw garlic at your last meal. If your bad breath is chronic, popping breath mints on a regular basis won’t solve it, either.
Dr. Linda K. Westmoreland has expertise in everything from routine dental care to cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery. Everyone on the Wedgewood Dental team is devoted to supporting your dental health, from educating you about oral hygiene techniques to developing an individualized treatment plan, no matter what your dental issues and goals are.
Your teeth and gums: Mirrors of your overall health
Your oral health greatly influences your physical health. Did you know that poor dental hygiene has been linked to serious health problems? These include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy and birth problems
The simple acts of brushing and flossing your teeth rid your mouth of leftover food, and they go a long way toward preventing foul breath. If you’re not consistent in your oral hygiene practices, neglect certain tasks like flossing more often than not, and skip in-office cleanings and checkups, you could be setting yourself up for bigger problems down the road.
The link between bad breath and periodontal disease
The cycle continues and worsens when gingivitis, or inflamed gums, morphs into full-on periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. When plaque sticks to your teeth, toxic bacteria multiply in your mouth, and your gums may become aggravated.
When the bacteria and plaque extend below the gumline, you have an infection residing in your mouth. With periodontal disease, your bad breath becomes persistent.
Cavities and diseased pockets in the gums develop, which give the bacteria that cause bad breath even more places to hide. Using tobacco products, hormonal changes, and a family history of periodontitis increase your risk for gum disease.
As the condition progresses, things get quite serious. The bacteria start to destroy the bone and gum tissue that keep your teeth securely placed.
Chronic bad breath is just one harbinger of periodontal disease. Others include:
- A lingering bad taste in your mouth
- Swollen gums that bleed
- A compromised immune system
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
In this case, bad breath is not a minor social embarrassment, it’s a foreboding symptom that demands immediate attention.
How to proceed if your bad breath won’t go away
The best first thing to do when you realize your bad breath is not intermittent but constant, is to visit us at Wedgewood Dental. Dr. Westmoreland carefully examines your mouth and offers an array of treatments for periodontal disease that may include antibiotics and in-office procedures such as:
- Scaling (removing hardened plaque from above and below the gum line)
- Root planing (smoothing uneven parts of your tooth roots)
- Bone grafting
- Laser therapy
- Surgery (for advanced gum disease)
Dr. Westmoreland creates a treatment plan based on your needs, risk factors, and the severity of your condition. Each treatment has the same goal, though: to restore the integrity of your gums, reverse the disease, and salvage your teeth.
Good oral hygiene explained
It’s much better to prevent periodontal disease than to treat it. The daily tending to your teeth is possibly the most important aspect of periodontal disease prevention, and good oral care habits aren’t complicated:
- Brush twice a day
- Floss daily
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Swish an antiseptic rinse after brushing
- Change your toothbrush every 2-3 months
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice yearly
If you do need treatment, we’re here with the most advanced options. Get proactive about your chronic bad breath by scheduling an appointment at Wedgewood Dental. Call either office — in Rolla or Salem, Missouri — or simply book an appointment online.