The term halitosis is used to simply describe bad breath that does not seem to go away even with the use of mints, gum, or mouthwash. There can be a variety of causes for halitosis, including an infection in the mouth, gums, throat, or nose. Additionally, a patient may be experiencing halitosis due to decreased saliva production related to other health issues such as diabetes, gastric reflux or kidney, and liver disease. One of the more frequent reasons for halitosis is dental bacteria, including decayed enamel and infected gums also known as gum disease.
How can gum disease cause bad breath?
Gum disease is a very common dental disorder, and in many cases, the symptoms have become so commonplace that patients no longer regard them as being problematic. Gum disease is problematic, in fact, statistics tell us that it is the number one reason for tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease is an active bacterial infection, the decay occurring causes some symptoms including a foul odor.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria have been allowed to remain in place in your mouth. We naturally produce a material known as plaque; plaque is a blend of food debris, saliva, and any bacteria that attaches itself to this blend. Bacteria thrive in plaque because plaque often contains sugar from the foods and drinks we consume. The bacteria feed on the sugar and then emits an acid that eats away at our tooth enamel and infects our soft tissue. This infection is called gum disease, and there are multiple stages of it ranging from light, known as gingivitis, to an active case of periodontitis and the most dangerous level for our teeth and gums known as chronic periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis if unattended will cause the loss of teeth and bone.
Our professional hygienist can assist you in removing foul-smelling bacteria while also strengthening your gums and providing you with the information you need for continued success. Depending on the level of bacteria, we can provide a standard dental cleaning, or a deep cleaning when needed.
A deep cleaning consists of two phases known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is the removal of hardened plaque known as tartar or calculus. We use two tools, an ultrasonic scaler, and a hand scaler to complete this task. The ultrasonic scaler is a directed stream of water along with a vibrating tip; it will remove the tartar without damaging your enamel. We then take a hand scaler to ensure that every bit is gone. Once the bacteria is removed, we then complete a procedure known as root planing, which is the smoothing of the root. The roots of your teeth get roughened up from the bacteria, and by smoothing them, we induce a healing response from your tissue.
Depending on the severity of your gum disease, we may ask to see you more often or prescribe an antibacterial wash. Removing the bacteria should leave you with a fresher, healthier smile.
Are you suffering from bad breath? Give us a call at (503) 647-4565. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!