If you’re having issues with halitosis, also known as bad breath, and brushing, flossing, and mouthwash isn’t fixing it, gingivitis may be to blame. Gingivitis is an irritation of the gums caused by bacteria buildup on the gums and teeth.

Bacterial Processes

The bacteria in your mouth release sulfurous gases as they digest food in your mouth. They’re particularly fond of sugars. Sulfur of course smells like rotten eggs, and is responsible for plenty of foul odors both in your body and the environment. If you have periodontal disease, your mouth is full of these bacteria and their byproduct, plaque. Plaque turns to tartar and traps the bacteria against your teeth, leading to tooth decay.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay also leads to a number of bad smells. If gingivitis is heading toward periodontitis, chances are likely that you have cavities. Unfilled cavities trap food in them, and the food starts to rot. This leads to any number of bad smells that can’t easily be treated with brushing and mouthwash.

Infections and Bleeding

Gingivitis comes with an increased risk of infection in the gum line. Pus can start to accumulate at the edges of the teeth or on the gums. This is part of a disease process that leads to even more unpleasant odors.

Bleeding gums also smell. We instinctively know and dislike the smell of blood. When bleeding is occurring in your mouth, even if it isn’t in sufficient enough quantity to see, it can definitely contribute to issues with halitosis. Since bleeding gums is one of the first warning signs of gingivitis, it’s likely that you will encounter this problem early if gingivitis starts to take hold in your mouth.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can also exacerbate gingivitis and contribute to odors in your mouth. Saliva naturally washes your teeth and cleans away some of the particles and bacteria present that are causing bad odors. Those particles and bacteria are what contribute to gum irritation and tooth decay. If you have dry mouth, the process by which your mouth cleans itself is being interfered with.

If you have dry mouth, there are plenty of potential causes and treatments. If you keep ending up with gingivitis and are following your dentist’s recommendations for your oral health, it could very well be something as simple as a medication you’re taking or a disease process that’s leading to dry mouth. Even something as innocuous as an antihistamine can cause dry mouth, which increases both mouth odor and your risk of gingivitis.

There are plenty of other risk factors for gingivitis as well. It’s important to talk to your dentist about following oral hygiene instructions properly as well as discussing your diet and lifestyle choices that are affecting your mouth health and contributing to periodontal disease and bad breath.

Thankfully, gingivitis is treatable and there are plenty of tips to avoid it in the future. If you’re having issues with bad breath, the cure could be as simple as a change in your oral hygiene routine and getting regular dental checkups to catch problems early.