Gum disease is classically associated with bad breath. Although bad breath can also be the result of eating pungent foods, the odor caused by bacterial overgrowth in the mouth is often so intense that dentists can almost diagnose gum disease based on this symptom alone. In addition to bad breath, gum disease can result in tooth loss and systemic diseases, including heart disease.
Gum disease is most often seen in patients who are older than 35. However, gum disease can affect patients at any age depending on heredity and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and poor dental hygiene. The gums of patients with early gingivitis often become sore and swollen and may bleed when patients brush and floss. Eventually, the teeth can loosen because the gums have deteriorated.
The link between gum disease and bad breath is related to the growth of bacteria in pockets inside the gums. As these bacteria grow and consume food particles in the mouth, they produce bad odors and gradually damage the tissues in the mouth. The effects of these bacteria can extend beyond the mouth if they enter the bloodstream through the damaged oral tissues. If this occurs, the bacteria can inflame the blood vessels, heart, and lungs and contribute to serious systemic illness.
In the early stages of gingivitis, patients may benefit from antimicrobial rinses or scaling and root planing, in which our dentist scrapes plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the gum line. Advanced periodontitis may be stopped or reversed with gum flap surgery and tissue grafting. To learn more about the connection between gum disease and bad breath, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist in Houston.
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