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. What causes it? There are a few reasons:

Gum Disease

The build-up of plaque and tartar on and beneath the gum line causes gum disease, which is an infection. If untreated, gum disease leads to bleeding, gum recession, and eventually tooth loss! The bacteria that live in disease-causing plaque also smell really bad. The smell is often so strong, it’s one of the clearest indicators of gum disease. 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 carbs in your food, they produce acid. This acid erodes your tooth enamel, creating holes called cavities. Your breath may have a sulfurous or rotten egg smell.

Tobacco Products

Cigarette smoke and tobacco smell very strong, so it’s no surprise these can affect how your breath smells. After you smoke, you may brush your teeth and use mouthwash, but you can still develop chronic bad breath. Why? Smoking can cause dry mouth, which occurs when your saliva glands can’t produce as much spit. Without enough saliva to rinse the smelly bacteria away, plaque and tartar build in your mouth and increase your risk for gum disease and cavities.

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. You can fight medication-induced dry mouth by drinking more water, chewing sugarless gum, and avoiding alcohol. You can also ask your doctor about switching medications.

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 cavities. We’re 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 an appointment with Dr. Matney!

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