When is Bad Breath a Sign of Serious Health Problems?
“Morning breath” is a common phenomenon that most everyone has encountered at some point in their lives. It is also a type of bad breath caused by bacteria living inside your dry mouth. More serious sources of bad breath include gum disease, poor oral hygiene, what you eat, and many systemic illnesses (diabetes, liver disease and lung disease to name a few).
Problem You Face With Bad Breath
These serious problems mean that bad breath should be taken seriously. Especially, bad breath that occurs frequently. However, it can be difficult to know when you have unpleasant breath. The problem is that your own breath is hard for you to smell. This occurs because the cells in your nose which detect unpleasant odors become desensitized over time. Aside from checking your breath constantly, the best way to know if you have disagreeable breath is to pay attention to the reactions of others around you as you speak. It’s instinctive to recoil from something that smells unpleasant. If you notice this behavior with others, there’s a good chance your breath is smelling less than ideal.
If your bad breath is causing you embarrassment or happening more often than what feels normal, it’s worthwhile to bring this issue up to your dentist. He or she will want to discuss any conditions or medications that may be causing your breath to smell abnormal. If you can determine the time when the bad breath first started, or when it typically occurs, this can be helpful information for determining the cause.
When bringing this issue up to your dentist, expect an examination of your teeth and gums. Your dentist should also check your neck and head, assessing any potential trouble with your breathing. If your dentist suspects systemic issues are the cause of your bad breath, you may be referred to your primary care physician. If gum disease is the offender, you may need to see a periodontist.
Preventing bad breath is much easier than treating it! Although most adults commit to a twice-daily ritual of brushing (and possible once-daily flossing), the American Dental Association recommends maintenance after every meal. When brushing, don’t forget your tongue and gums. Practice this daily routine for a fresher, healthier mouth!
Drinking lots of water is also a great prevention method for bad breath! It encourages saliva production which helps keep the mouth clear of bacteria and food particles.
In most cases, your bad breath discussion can wait until your next exam. However, there are a few situations when you need to call a medical professional straightaway! If your gums are swollen or sore and also bleed easily, call your dentist. Wobbly or unsecure teeth are also a bad sign. Reach out to your dental office as soon as possible! For bad breath accompanied by a postnasal drip, sore throat or fever – call your primary doctor.
Good oral hygiene is a habit that will help keep your bad breath in check. Just keep doing what you’re doing until it becomes routine. If you find yourself in a persistent bad breath situation, just remember that you’re not alone! The prognosis is great for those who get their bad breath diagnosed and also follow the instructions of their medical professionals.