Illustration of a brunette woman with fresh breath next to herself when she has bad breath

What Causes Chronic Bad Breath?

July 31, 2023 3:04 pm Published by

Everyone has less-than-fresh breath when they first wake up or after eating certain foods, like meals with garlic and onion. Chronic bad breath, however, is a persistent problem. Here are a few possible causes:

Gum Disease

The buildup of plaque and tartar on and beneath the gumline causes gum disease, which is an infection. Untreated gum disease leads to bleeding, gum recession, and eventual tooth loss! The bacteria that live in disease-causing plaque also smell really bad. So if you cannot get your bad breath under control, gum disease could likely be the reason.

Tooth Decay

The bacteria that cause gum disease also cause tooth decay. As the harmful bacteria feed on the sugars in your food, they produce acid. This acid erodes your tooth enamel, creating holes called cavities, and gives your breath a sulfurous or rotten egg smell.

Tobacco Products

Cigarette smoke and tobacco smell very strong, so it’s no surprise these can negatively affect how your breath smells. Tobacco products can also cause dry mouth, which occurs when your salivary glands can’t produce as much spit. Without enough saliva to rinse smelly bacteria away, plaque and tartar accumulate in your mouth and increase your risk for gum disease and cavities. Additionally, tobacco products weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off oral infections.

Certain Medications

Did you know your medicines could be the cause of your chronic bad breath? Lots of common medications (like anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants) can cause dry mouth, which makes it easier for smelly plaque to build up in your mouth. If you cannot switch medications, you can fight medication-induced dry mouth by drinking more water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding alcohol.

Treatment for Bad Breath in Arlington, VA

Chronic bad breath shouldn’t be ignored! If you’re experiencing symptoms, it could be a sign of gum disease or tooth decay. Our team at Ballston Dental Care is proud to offer treatment for these issues, as well as routine cleaning and exams, cosmetic dentistry, and more. Please contact us today if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Matney!

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