Posted By: Varun Sharma

What Your Bad Breath Says About Your Overall Health – From Your Puyallup Dentistry Experts
Although it’s unpleasant, bad breath isn’t exactly uncommon. From ‘morning breath’ after a night of limited saliva production to strong foods like garlic or coffee causing you to reach for a stick of gum, virtually everyone in Puyallup, WA experiences some form of halitosis on a daily basis. But some people suffer from chronic bad breath – the type that can’t be eliminated with a quick swig of mouthwash or breath freshener. If you’re self-conscious about continual ‘dragon breath’, it may be time to visit your cosmetic dentistry clinic to find out what your breath could be signaling about your oral and physical health.

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Gum Disease

One of the most common causes of bad breath is periodontal (or gum) disease, which is caused by a build-up of plaque and improper oral care habits. Left untreated, this disease can cause gum recession, leading to extreme tooth sensitivity and the potential for your teeth to fall out, as well as damage to your jawbone. Your cosmetic dentistry professional can diagnose gum disease and help you plan a course of action to protect your gums and restore your oral health.

Appliance or Denture Issues

Proper oral health as a whole is critical to targeting bad breath – clearing away bacteria on a regular basis via proper tooth brushing, mouthwash and flossing. The same goes for any oral appliances – such as retainers or mouth guards – and dentures. Improper care can lead to a build-up of bacteria that leads to bad breath. In addition, improperly fitting dentures and appliances can also allow bacteria to pool in certain areas. Speak with your Puyallup cosmetic dentistry professional for tips on cleaning your oral appliances.

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Dry Mouth

Your mouth requires saliva to help wash away food acids and dead cells that can cause bad breath. If you have a constant feeling of dryness in your mouth coupled with a less-than-pleasant odor, you may be suffering from xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome. This can be a side effect of other health treatments, as well as more complex health conditions related to your sinuses and salivary glands. A visit to your Puyallup cosmetic dentistry clinic can help determine whether you in fact have xerostomia or if you simply require a greater intake of fluids.

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Sleep Apnea
Most people have some degree of morning breath, which is the result of a lack of saliva production while you sleep. However, morning breath can be exacerbated if you tend to sleep with your mouth open. Oftentimes those suffering from sleep apnea, a common yet serious condition that can impact many areas of your well-being, will breathe with their mouth open because they have obstructed airways. An custom-fitted oral appliance from your Puyallup cosmetic dentistry clinic can help clear your airways and ensure you get a good night’s sleep – while diminishing morning breath symptoms.

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Digestive Conditions

If your bad breath is coupled with an inflamed throat and acid erosion on your teeth, your Puyallup dentist may diagnose you with acid reflux or gastroesophaegal reflux disease (GERD). These common digestive conditions make it difficult for your body to properly process food and move it through your digestive system. When this happens, that food can begin to decay and potentially be regurgitated, leading to bad breath. Proper treatment can help mitigate your breath issues as well as the other side effects of these health conditions.

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Respiratory Tract Infections and Sinusitis

Your mouth is part of your respiratory (or breathing) system – and troubles elsewhere can lead to bad breath. Everything from allergies to sinus or lung infections like bronchitis can trigger the production of cells and mucus via a post nasal drip that bacteria loves to feed on – leading to unpleasant breath. While there’s not much you can do during a short-term virus, chronic infections should be treated with your doctor.


This rare yet impactful condition results from your body’s inability to break down trimethylamine and its precursors, which are found in foods such as milk from wheat-fed cows, eggs, legumes, peanuts, soy products and vegetables from the brassicas family. The result is a persistent fishy smells that emits from your body in multiple ways, including your breath. However, fish breath can also signal kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease. Your Puyallup cosmetic dentistry professional should be able to help you determine whether fishy breath is tied into either of these conditions.
Lung Cancer, Heart Disease and Diabetes
Most serious health conditions produce a unique volatile organic compound (VOC) that can be detected by emerging electronic ‘nose’ technology. This doesn’t mean the VOC will necessarily translate into bad breath, however it is a distinct smell that can be picked up by this new technology, possibly before other more mainstream methods of detecting cancer and disease. This technology is being used to detect a range of conditions, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes, all of which leave a unique oral ‘signature’ that could be impacting your breath. Diabetes for example, often leads to a sickly sweet or fruity smell.