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gum disease

The Growing Link Between Periodontal Disease and Bad Breath

added on: July 10, 2020

Bakersfield, CA– With links between gum health and overall well-being growing all the time, words like periodontal disease and gingivitis are often used. Are they interchangeable? And what’s their relationship to the bad breath that plagues so many people?

Bakersfield cosmetic dentist Dr. Thomas Frank helps clarify. “To many people, these terms may sound the same –and they’re certainly related—but there are some differences.”


Gingivitis is the first, most easily treatable stage of gum disease. It can be stopped and reversed by gum therapy and diligent oral care, including brushing teeth twice a day and flossing. This early stage is before bone loss occurs and can help prevent substantial damage later on.

Gum Disease: AKA Periodontal Disease

Since nearly 85% of adults are affected by gum disease, the topic is relevant to most people. This condition is known medically as periodontal disease. Generally, gum or periodontal disease is the presence of infection in the soft tissue of the gums. It is most often noticed with bleeding and sore or swollen gums. It results from disease-causing bacteria that release toxins that causes inflammation (infection) in the surrounding bone and soft tissue. In advanced stages of this disease, tooth and bone loss can occur.

Signs of gum disease include:

  • gums that bleed or are sore, puffy, or red
  • gums that are starting to move away from the teeth
  • the appearance of pus between the teeth and gums
  • changes in the way teeth fit together in a bite
  • constant bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth

Treatment of periodontal disease includes a more intensive therapy than just home oral hygiene. Frequent visits to the dentist and dental hygienist will be required to adequately treat this condition.

The Link with Bad Breath

“A lot of people are concerned with having bad breath,” Dr. Frank explains. “What they may not realize, however, is that there is a connection between your oral health and bad breath.”

When bacteria overgrow in the mouth, they can cause an unpleasant aroma. This condition, colloquially called bad breath is known as halitosis in the medical world.

Other factors of halitosis include debris left from food, an un-cleaned tongue, and a dry mouth. Bacteria thrive when breaking down food and can grow quickly and easily if the food is not removed from the mouth. Areas that receive little to no oxygen, like hard-to-reach pockets around the teeth and fissures, or small cracks, in the tongue can also harbor bacteria. These conditions can help the proliferation of oral microbes, leading to noticeable bad breath and worsening gum disease.

How to Treat Bad Breath

Apart from routine brushing and flossing, Dr. Frank suggests regular visits to the dental hygienist. “While checkups every six months are sufficient for many people, others may need them more frequently: every two to three months can be necessary in severe cases.”

Other easy remedies include using a plastic tongue scraper to remove bacteria build-up on the tongue, as well as chewing sugar-free gum to increase saliva production to decrease oral bacteria. In addition, regular use of a Water Flosser and other anti-microbial rinses can be very effective.
Dr. Frank adds, “Oral health isn’t only linked to bad breath. It’s also linked to other ailments like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Oral health is important to total body health. Bad breath may be just one warning sign that attention is needed to maintain good oral health, which can then contribute to better whole-body health.”,

To learn more about the link between your oral health and bad breath, gum disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, contact Dr. Thomas Frank today!

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