Posted .

Author: Dr. Tontra Lowe

It’s not uncommon to have a colleague or a co-worker pull out a mint and offer it to those nearby. It’s just the nice thing to do, right? Or maybe there’s another reason why the mint is being offered to you!

Chronic halitosis (or bad breath) can become a key symptom associated with gum disease or “periodontitis.” Gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, is a chronic, inflammatory disease that if left untreated can lead to tooth loss.

Persistent bad breath is one warning sign of the disease that nearly 65 million people have developed, along with others such as bleeding gums when you floss or brush, or red and puffy gums.

Visiting your dentist at least twice per year can greatly reduce halitosis, or foul breath. Some people diagnosed with periodontal disease will need to see the dentist three to four times per year to keep the disease under control. There is no cure for gum disease, and the best way to keep the symptoms of active infection stable is to practice proper oral hygiene.

Who’s at Risk?
The main cause of periodontal or gum disease is plaque and poor oral hygiene, but other factors affect the health of your gums. Everyone is at risk due to inadequate brushing and flossing; however, some are at higher risk.

Patients who have other systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis need special attention. Pregnant women are also at greater risk for developing gum issues.

What Can I Do?
Take the mint! If you haven’t visited your dentist within six months, make an appointment for an evaluation. Listen to your body and the body language of those around you.

It’s difficult to tell someone that he or she has bad breath, but you could potentially be saving that person’s life! Remember, bad breath could be a sign of gum disease, but it could also be a warning for undiagnosed medical conditions in the body.

Call 571-261-2600 if you have further questions. We are happy to help.