The Link Between Bad Breath and Dental Health

The Link Between Bad Breath and Dental Health

When you have bad breath, it’s normal and expected that you might feel a bit self-conscious. Often, it’s not the kind of problem that you can get rid of by chewing gum or brushing your teeth. The issue may be more complex than that.

Bad breath can be caused by a number of dental health conditions. However, many are treatable. In this blog, Thomas D. Sokoly, DDS at Sokoly Dental in Washington, DC, explains more about the link between your breath and your dental health.

The source of bacteria

Bad breath and dental health often have the same root cause: bacteria. This bacteria can enter your mouth in several ways. 

It can be the result of systemic health conditions, such as diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, sinus problems, and problems with your lungs or kidneys.

It can also be the result of gum (periodontal) disease. If you don’t have good oral hygiene, your gum tissue can become inflamed and be a source of additional bacteria.

The problem of dry mouth

Many things can cause your mouth to be perpetually dry. Medication is one of the most common causes of dry mouth. 

According to, the drugs most likely to cause dry mouth are in a class called anticholinergics. These drugs include:

Other drugs that can cause dry mouth include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®); sleep medications; nasal decongestants; medications to reduce incontinence; anti-anxiety medications; anti-nausea medications; and antipsychotics. Chemotherapy drugs can also cause this issue.

When your mouth is chronically dry, you don’t produce enough saliva, which washes the bacteria away from your teeth.

If you’re taking a medication that causes dry mouth, you may want to consult with your doctor to see if you can safely take a lower dosage or an alternate type of medication. You can also offset some of the drying effects of medications by chewing sugarless gum.

Dental causes of bad breath

Many types of dental issues can also cause bad breath. 

If you have a poorly-fitting dental appliance, such as a denture or retainer, it can cause bad breath. Cavities can also cause bad breath.

In addition, you can have yeast infections in your mouth, which can cause bad breath.

If you think that you might have dental causes of bad breath, you should definitely make an appointment at our practice.

Good oral hygiene can prevent bad breath

There are many possible causes of bad breath that you can prevent with good oral hygiene. One of the easiest fixes for bad breath is simply brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and flossing at least once daily.

Drinking lots of water can also prevent bad breath by keeping your mouth moist and washing harmful bacteria out of your mouth. 

We also recommend that you keep up with your regular dental cleanings and checkups.

If you’re due for a dental checkup or have concerns about the cause of your bad breath, click here to contact us today.

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