August 6th has been dedicated as National Fresh Breath Day, and if that sounds a bit frivolous to you, keep in mind that persistent bad breath may be a sign of something much more serious. The day was established in Hernando and elsewhere around the country as a day to be more aware of oral hygiene and the importance of recognizing conditions associated with bad breath. While primary beneficiaries of this attention may be seniors and dementia patients, everyone in the whole family can actually benefit from good oral hygiene. Senior home care professionals who recognize persistent bad breath in their charges understand the importance of doctor checkups, where a condition like this can be examined more fully.
It’s true that bad breath is often simply the result of inattentive oral hygiene, and possibly even something very flavorful that you ate. Most of us wake up with morning breath, because bacteria have accumulated in the mouth overnight, and no fluids or foods have been ingested so as to lessen the impact of bad breath. Literally, everyone can be victimized by bad breath, and there are a number of causes for it, but in some cases, bad breath can be a sign of a serious underlying health issue.
It’s quite possible that a person with bad breath actually has some underlying health issue that should be addressed. In some cases, your doctor will be able to test your breath to find out what level of specific gases are present, in order to diagnose what kind of underlying issue may be present. For instance, if your breath has high levels of acetone, it could very well be an indicator of diabetes. When your breath has a high nitric oxide content, that could mean you have asthma.
Excessive ammonia in your breath is commonly an indicator of renal failure. When your breath contains a high level of methylamine, you could possibly have some kind of liver disease or kidney disease. When you have a certain kind of mix of several gases in your breath, this could alert your doctor to the fact that you might have throat cancer. When you have bad breath that you simply can’t get rid of, no matter how hard you try, this could be an indication that you have some kind of gut problem.
It’s entirely possible that you might have a stomach ulcer, although there will be other symptoms associated with that, e.g. heartburn, stomach pain, etc. Bad breath might also be a sign of a bowel disorder, poor digestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or possibly acid reflux. You might also have bad breath if you are frequently constipated. As you can see, your breath can often tell a great deal about what’s going on in your body, and some of these things can be extremely serious issues.
Relationship between gum disease, bad breath, and heart health
Bad breath might be the least of your concerns when you recognize that you have persistent bad breath which cannot be controlled, and that’s when you need to take the condition very seriously. Bad breath which is the result of gum disease might also be a sign that you have some kind of heart condition present in the body. People who are diagnosed with gum disease should realize that it needs to be treated promptly so that it doesn’t end up impacting their heart health.
The inflammation and bacteria commonly attendant when gum disease is present can definitely increase the risk of having various types of cardiovascular problems. When you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, you should make a point of having it treated as soon as possible, both for the fresher breath aspect and for the possibility of maintaining better heart health.
Other health problems which cause bad breath
The catalog of health problems that may be underlying your persistent bad breath, would not be complete without mentioning a few more issues that are also capable of triggering bad breath. These include oral infections, sinus problems, metabolic disorders, blood disorders, respiratory infections, and tonsil infections. All of these are capable of having a major impact on the freshness of your breath, and all of them are things that should be looked into before they have a chance to worsen into something serious.
Talk with your dentist
By now, it should be apparent that there are quite a few serious issues that may be contributing to your persistent bad breath. That makes it important to have a discussion with your dentist about bad breath which you can’t seem to get rid of. It might very well be that one of the underlying issues mentioned above could be present and is being announced through the seemingly innocuous vehicle of stinky breath.
While it might seem to be a lightweight issue and possibly even somewhat humorous, the potential for serious bodily disruption is no laughing matter. Don’t ignore persistent bad breath, because there’s a chance that it could be caused by something much worse than the garlic you ate in your last meal.