When it comes to your dental health, timing is everything. For instance, if your breath is less than fresh when you wake up in the morning, it’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if your breath is bad throughout the rest of the day despite brushing and flossing your teeth, then you might want to visit Dr. James Fondriest, your general dentist in Chicago, to find out why. Bad breath in the morning is natural because the cause behind it (the accumulation of oral bacteria) is natural. Yet, after brushing away those bacteria, any lingering bad breath is likely caused by something else that might prove to be a bigger threat to your overall oral health.
If you notice persistent bad breath that lasts all day, schedule an appointment with your Chicago general dentist, Dr. James Fondriest. Call Lake Forest Dental Arts at 847-234-0517.
What Causes Morning Breath? Your Chicago General Dentist Explains
Bacteria are a natural part of your oral anatomy. In fact, a typical human mouth contains over 600 different identifiable kinds at any given moment. When you sleep, these bacteria accumulate on your teeth, gums, and tongue at an accelerate rate thanks to the reduction in your saliva. By the time you wake up, all kinds of oral bacteria have gathered in force inside of your mouth, including those that prefer your tongue’s surface and are responsible for bad breath.
What Might Be Causing Your Chronic Bad Breath
The problem with oral bacteria is that some of them can be particularly harmful to your oral health in large numbers. For instance, certain kinds can erode your tooth structure and lead tooth decay, others can infect your gum tissues and lead to gum disease. When a dental issue develops from excess bacteria, chronic bad breath can be a characteristic symptom. If your bad breath doesn’t go away after cleaning away the previous night’s bacteria, then you should schedule a dental examination with your general dentist before it grows worse.
Other Conditions that Can Cause Bad Breath
In addition to dental caries (decay) and gum disease, there are other reasons why bad breath may become persistent.
Ill-Fitting Oral Appliances
Poorly fitting dental appliances, such as dentures, can harbor bacteria in hard-to-reach places. As a result, odors can develop.
Oral Yeast Infections
Additionally, oral yeast infections (thrush) can also lead to halitosis. Candida is a type of fungus that lives in the human body. In small amounts, candida is normal. However, if it grows out of control, it can cause white or yellow patches on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of mouth, and inner cheeks. This condition is more likely in patients:
- With diabetes
- Who wear dentures
- Undergoing cancer treatment
- Who take wide-spectrum antibiotics or corticosteroids
One of the most common causes of persistent bad breath is xerostomia – or chronic dry mouth. Saliva is essential for optimal oral health. In addition to providing moisture for the mouth, it also neutralizes acids produced by plaque and washes away dead cells that have accumulated on the oral soft tissues. If these dead cells are not removed, they decompose and cause bad breath.
Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications or health-related problems. Other causes include chronic open-mouth breathing and salivary gland issues.
Health Problems Associated with Bad Breath
In addition to oral health issues, such as decay or gum disease, persistent bad breath can also be indicative of a host of other medical conditions, such as:
- Liver or kidney problems
- Chronic acid reflux
- Postnasal drip
- Bronchitis, pneumonia, or other respiratory tract infections
- Chronic sinus infections
For this reason, it is extremely important to identify the root cause of chronic bad breath. Addressing the problem sooner rather than later can help you avoid more complex health issues. If you suspect any of the above issues are causing bad breath, schedule a visit with your general dentist.
How Your General Dentist Treats Persistent Bad Breath
If bad breath is due to a medical issue like the ones mentioned above, you should seek advice from your primary care physician. However, if the problem is due to poor oral hygiene, there are several treatments that can be recommended by your general dentist. Of course, the most appropriate treatment will depend on your specific circumstances.
If you visit your general dentist at Lake Forest Dental Arts, he may recommend a number of treatments, which could include:
- Improved oral hygiene at home: Sometimes it really is that simple. If you’ve been neglecting your oral health, some basic improvements in brushing and flossing can make a world of difference.
- Dental prophylaxis: Bad breath often occurs when you wait too long between regular dental cleanings. A routine cleaning with your hygienist can help eliminate the problem.
- Scaling and root planing: Persistent bad breath that quickly returns after brushing and flossing may be due to gum disease. When bacteria is too far beneath the gum line, it cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. In these cases, your hygienist will need to perform a deep cleaning.
- Periodontal therapy: Some cases of gum disease are too severe to be treated with scaling and root planing. If bad breath is due to advanced gum disease, Dr. Fondriest will likely refer you out to a trusted periodontist for specialized treatment.
- Restorative dentistry: Oftentimes, bad breath is due to tooth decay. It’s important to address this problem as soon as possible, so you don’t compromise the health of your other teeth. Your general dentist can gently remove the decay and restore the affected tooth with a filling, crown, or other restoration.
- Fluoride treatments: If you’re prone to decay, topical fluoride treatments can be quite successful in the fight against cavities and bad breath.
- Dental sealants: Another helpful preventative treatment is dental sealants. These are like rain jackets for your teeth. They help protect deep grooves in the teeth from collecting food particles and debris. This treatment can be helpful for preventing bad breath.
Contact Your Chicago General Dentist Today
Your breath is bad in the morning because of oral bacteria that gather at night. If it continues after your morning hygiene routine, then there may be a more serious reason why, and curing it could require professional care from your dentist. To find out how serious your halitosis is and how best to treat it, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Chicago, IL, at 847-234-0517. In addition to the Chicago metropolitan area, we also proudly serve residents of the North Shore and Northwest suburbs.