Would You Like a Mint?
It is not uncommon to have a colleague or co-worker pull out a mint and offer it to those around them. It is the nice thing to do, right? Or, perhaps, there is another reason why the mint is being offered to YOU.
Chronic halitosis, or bad breath, can become a key symptom associated with periodontitis or gum disease. Gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology (Perio.org), is a chronic inflammatory disease that if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. Persistent bad breath is one of the warning signs along with others such as bleeding gums when you floss or brush, or red and puffy gums of the disease that nearly 65 million people have developed.
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 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, and 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 have not 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 is hard to tell someone they may have bad breath, but you could potentially be saving their life. Remember, bad breath could be a sign of gum disease, but could also warn of undiagnosed medical conditions in the body. See your dental professional for more information.