Is Bad Breath a Sign of a more Serious Dental Problem?

Is Bad Breath a Sign of a more Serious Dental Problem?

At one point or another, most patients have dealt with bad breath. While it is sometimes just an occasional annoyance after enjoying a meal with lots of garlic or waking up after a long night’s rest, for some it can be a serious and chronic problem. Bad breath may also be an indication of a more concerning issue which is why it should not be ignored. At Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, California, Dr. Claudia B. Cortadi and her team can evaluate patients with chronic bad breath and provide them with possible treatment options to resolve the issue and help patients regain their self-confidence in social settings.

What is bad breath?

Bad breath is medically known as “halitosis.” Symptoms of bad breath are easy to notice. This includes an odor from the mouth that might be mild or intense. Patients might also notice an unusual or different taste in their mouths between meals. It’s not uncommon for bad breath to occur immediately after enjoying a meal with garlic or onions. Still, daily, chronic bad breath may need to be evaluated further by a dental professional.

What causes bad breath?

There are many causes of bad breath that patients will want to consider, specifically when the issue is chronic. While temporary bad breath may be caused by “morning breath” or a pungent meal for dinner, chronic bad breath may result from a few issues. They include:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a chronic condition that results from poor salivary flow. Saliva is critical in flushing away food particles from the mouth after meals, and patients with dry mouth may have difficulty keeping the mouth wet. Dry mouth may be resolved with particular medications, drinking more water regularly, and even chewing sugarless gum to keep saliva flowing.
  • Cavities. Patients with significant decay in their mouth may experience bad breath regularly. They may also notice other symptoms associated with cavities, such as sensitivity to hot and cold beverages, sugary foods and drinks, and even a dull or sharp toothache.
  • Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is an infection that is caused by bacteria in the mouth that slowly affects the health of the smile. Periodontal disease starts with red, swollen gums, bleeding when brushing, and bad breath. If left untreated, it can result in the loss of gum tissue, jawbone, and natural teeth. Early detection and intervention are critical to keeping this condition from becoming extremely damaging throughout the mouth.
  • Surgery. Patients who have recently had oral surgery may experience temporary bad breath during the recovery period. This is entirely normal and may be improved with mouthwash as approved by the oral surgeon.
  • Tobacco use. The use of tobacco products, including both chewing tobacco and cigarettes, can contribute to chronic bad breath. Patients who smoke or chew tobacco also have a higher risk of developing conditions such as periodontal disease, contributing to long-term halitosis.
  • Medications. There are some medications that patients might take for certain conditions that may contribute to dry mouth, which can cause bad breath. If these medications cannot be replaced or stopped, patients should work with their dentist to find a solution for dry mouth to reduce bad breath.

Call our dentist in Encinitas for an evaluation

If you are struggling with persistent bad breath and want to speak to a provider about the issue, call Dr. Claudia B. Cortadi and her team at Ablantis Dental to discuss your condition and find a solution to the problem! The practice is located in Encinitas, CA at 351 Santa Fe Drive, Suite #110, and accepts new and returning patients who call the office for an appointment at (760) 334-0128.