Could bad breath be a warning sign of a medical condition?

 

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Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gums disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

 

Other dental cause of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infection of the mouth and dental caries.

The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth maybe caused by the side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

 

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

 

 

Tips to fight bad breath:

 

Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush your tongue too. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

 

See your dentist regularly- at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral examination and professional teeth cleaning and will be able detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor. Stop smoking /chewing tobacco-based products. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habits. Drinking lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Keep a log of the foods you eat. If you think the foods you eat may be causing your bad breath, record what you eat. Bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors.