• Aug 28 2018

Is persistent halitosis a sign of periodontal disease?

We humans may be wired as social beings, but that does not mean that social interaction is necessarily easy. There seems to always be something to worry about, whether it is about the way we are dressed, the inability to recall names or those extra pounds that stubbornly refuse to come off. Nothing, however, can rival the horror we feel when we suddenly realize that the reason people around us are backing away is because we have bad breath!  

Bad breath, or halitosis, has been around for as long as we have walked the earth. 15th century Chinese fashioned the first toothbrushes from pig hair, and, before them, the ancient Babylonians tried using twigs to clean their teeth. The Egyptians concocted a version of the breath mint using different herbs and spices that they combined with honey. While these probably helped to a certain extent, they were likely to have enjoyed the same success as those we use today; a temporary one. Bad breath that is the result of something more serious than an overindulgence of garlic bread or the tuna sandwich you enjoyed for lunch, requires more than a temporary mask.

Causes of Halitosis

Halitosis can be occasional or chronic. Foods, like garlic, onions, fish, cheese and different spices, as well as alcohol and other beverages can be the cause of bad breath until they have totally worked their way through your system. Diets, especially those that create chemical reactions like ketosis, often produce bad breath. Sleeping with your mouth open on occasion can also be the culprit. These are generally short-lived. Chronic offenders are more serious and cannot be adequately treated with mouthwash or a mint.      

Some of the most common causes of chronic halitosis include:

  • Periodontal disease — bad breath can be added to the list of reasons why good dental hygiene is so important. When food particles are allowed to remain in the mouth due to improper or infrequent brushing and flossing, plague will build up and can lead to periodontal infections, which are often accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
  • Dentures — dentures that are not removed and properly cleaned can facilitate the growth of bacteria and resulting bad breath.
  • Smoking — along with all of the other warnings about smoking, any form of oral tobacco use comes with the likelihood of unpleasant odors in the mouth.
  • Dry mouth — dry mouth that is ongoing due to disease or glandular issues is a cause of bad breath.
  • Drugs and medications — some types of medications are the culprits due to reactions in the body or because they can be the cause of dry mouth.
  • Other medical conditions — these include a wide variety of issues, such as sinus conditions, metabolic disorders, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, acid reflux and even some types of cancers.

Obviously, to avoid bad breath, the best course of action is to be aware of those foods that contribute to it and avoid them in social settings and to always be consistent with good oral hygiene practices. This includes regular checkups and cleanings. If bad breath is more than an occasional inconvenience, it is important to consult with your dentist as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing any issues with halitosis or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.

Categories: Dental Health