My Bad Breath Won't Go Away: Is That Serious and Do I Need a Dentist? By drednarcisi on July 01, 2024

a person breathing into their hand trying to smell their breathBad breath can have many potential causes. While some causes aren’t serious, like eating pungent foods, others may be an indication of an oral health or general health problem. When bad breath won’t go away, it’s time to see a dentist. 

At our Monroeville office, Dr. Edward Narcisi offers dental exams to assess oral health and treat problems that may be causing bad breath. To find out what may be the source of your bad breath, contact our team serving MonroevillePAPittsburgh, PA, and neighboring areas to schedule a consultation.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Chronic Bad Breath

Eating foods with a lot of garlic, onion, or other strong smelling ingredients is a pretty common cause of bad breath. While bad breath caused by foods can be embarrassing, it’s generally harmless and goes away after a few hours. When bad breath is always present, it’s something to be concerned about. 

Chronic bad breath is often a sign of either an oral health problem or a general health problem and should not be ignored. It’s important to see a dentist when bad breath won’t go away so that any underlying health problems can be addressed.  

Bad Breath and Oral Health Problems

When bad breath isn’t caused by foods and is always present, it may be a symptom of an oral health problem. Some conditions that can cause bad breath and should be treated as soon as possible include: 

  • Gum disease: Gum disease is an infection that occurs when plaque collects at and below the gumline. In advanced stages, gum disease can reach the roots of the teeth and cause bone loss. Gum disease can cause bad breath and leave a foul taste in the mouth. 
  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay is another possible cause of chronic bad breath. As tooth decay advances, it can lead to a root canal infection, further affecting the breath and putting oral health at increased risk.  
  • Oral infections: Other oral infections, like an overgrowth of yeast sometimes seen in denture wearers, can also cause bad breath. 
  • Dry mouth: Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition where not enough saliva is produced. Saliva is important for washing away food remnants and bacteria. Bad breath can occur as a result of dry mouth. 
  • Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of oral health problems, like gum disease and tooth decay, which can lead to bad breath. 

Bad Breath and General Health Problems

Sometimes bad breath isn’t caused by oral health problems but instead by a general health issue. Seeing a dentist to rule out oral health problems is important when an underlying general health issue is to blame for bad breath. Some general health conditions that may cause bad breath include: 

  • Nose or throat conditions: Infections, nasal or throat swelling, or a postnasal drip can cause bad breath. 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Acid reflux seen in GERD can cause bad breath and discomfort. 
  • Cancer: Some cancers, like lung, oral, or throat cancer, can cause bad breath. 

Treating and Preventing Bad Breath

It’s important to seek treatment for bad breath to protect oral health and potentially general health. When oral or general health problems are the source of bad breath, treating the cause can often help improve the breath. 

Dental treatments, like root canal therapy, gum disease treatment, and dental fillings, can be beneficial for eliminating bad breath. Seeing a physician is necessary when general health problems may be the source of bad breath. 

Once treated, you can help prevent bad breath by:

  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings to identify oral health problems early and keep the teeth clean and healthy
  • Practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily
  • Rinse the mouth with water between meals
  • Avoid foods that cause bad breath 

Schedule a Consultation

If you’re experiencing bad breath regularly, it may be a symptom of a health problem that needs attention. We welcome you to schedule a consultation with Monroeville dentist Edward Narcisi to discuss which treatments are right for you. 

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Dr. Edward Narcisi, DMD

Edward Narcisi, DMD

Dr. Narcisi is devoted to helping patients achieve stunning, healthy smiles through comprehensive dental care. He is a member of many prestigious associations, including: 

  • American Dental Association
  • Pennsylvania Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 
  • Academy of Osseointegration 

To schedule a consultation at the Center for Dental Excellence, request an appointment online or call us at (412) 373-9447.

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