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John P. Goodman DDS

The Link Between Cavities and Bad Breath

By Dr. John Goodman on November 21, 2014

Close-up of a woman undergoing a dental exam It's probably safe to say everyone has experienced some form of bad breath in his or her lifetime. For most, bad breath is temporary, but for some, bad breath may persist day in and day out. Chronic bad breath can be an indication of oral health problems, specifically cavities or tooth decay. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can be used to improve oral health and to help eliminate bad breath caused by dental issues. Kansas City dentist John Goodman offers this explanation on the connection between cavities and bad breath.

How Do Cavities Cause Bad Breath?

Though many foods can cause bad breath, bad breath that never seems to go away is often caused by oral health issues. Cavities are just one specific oral health issue that can lead to bad breath. To understand why cavities cause bad breath, it is important to understand how cavities form.

Cavities are caused by the decaying, or erosion, of the tooth enamel, as a result of bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup. Plaque is made up of bacteria, food remnants, and acid excreted by the bacteria. Tartar is the calcific form of plaque. The combination of plaque, tartar, bacteria, and acid all compound to erode the tooth's enamel, and if untreated, will penetrate to the root canal, infecting the tooth's nerve and pulp tissues. The result of infection and decay is bad breath. 

Treat Cavities to Reduce Bad Breath

If left untreated, a small dental cavity will continue to erode the tooth, which can lead to worsened bad breath, further dental damage, root canal infection, and even tooth loss. Treating cavities is not only important to the health of your teeth, it can also reduce bad breath symptoms. There are many options for the treatment of tooth decay, including cosmetically pleasing tooth-colored treatments. Dental cavity treatments include:

  • Traditional silver amalgam fillings
  • Tooth-colored composite resin fillings
  • Porcelain crowns
  • Inlays and onlays
  • Root canal infection treatment

Reduce the Risk of Bad Breath

Keeping your mouth healthy and decay free is just one way to reduce your risk of bad breath. However, cavities are not the only cause of chronic bad breath. Gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and even general health issues like diabetes, can all lead to bad breath. Reducing bad breath begins with determining the cause, or causes, and personalizing treatment. Regardless of the direct cause of an individual's bad breath, practicing proper oral hygiene can greatly reduce bad breath. Brushing a minimum of twice a day and flossing a minimum of once a day will remove odor causing plaque and bacteria, reduce the risk of developing cavities and gum disease - all of which cause bad breath. Another key component to good oral hygiene is seeing your dentist every six months for a general examination and cleaning.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Goodman

Not only is bad breath embarrassing, it can be an indication of a serious oral health problem. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Goodman to discuss your treatment options.

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