Bad breath can have a negative effect on your self-esteem and social relationships. It can even limit you professionally if it is left untreated. If you’re experiencing bad breath that seems to stem from a single tooth, it is very likely that tooth decay is the cause.
How does tooth decay cause bad breath?
Even a small amount of tooth decay can produce a foul odor. This is because tooth decay is caused by bacteria that feed on food residue left on the teeth, and eventually the tooth itself. As the tooth becomes decayed, it will begin to smell, just like any other decaying matter. If you have noticed that one of your teeth has a foul odor emanating from it, it is very likely that tooth decay is the cause. If left untreated, this decay can spread, and you may develop an infection in the tooth or tooth root that could be very painful, and even cause a tooth abscess. Eventually, the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Treating tooth decay and bad breath
Tooth decay can be treated easily in the early stages with a professional fluoride application. This will help to protect your teeth from the effects of acid erosion, preventing any further decay from occurring. When the decay is more advanced, you may need a filling. The dentist will remove the decayed areas of the tooth and fill the resulting space with a dental composite or metal amalgam material. This will prevent any further decay from occurring and protect your tooth root from damage.
If your tooth is decayed extensively, you may require a root canal treatment. This is necessary for teeth where the decay has infected the tooth pulp. The dentist will remove the damaged portion of the pulp as well as the tooth nerve. The tooth will then be filled in order to prevent the decay from spreading into the gums or other teeth. In some cases, a dental crown may be placed over the tooth. If the decay is extremely severe, the tooth may have to be extracted and replaced.
Preventing tooth decay
Tooth decay can be prevented by adhering to proper oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush that has received the American Dental Association seal of approval and uses a fluoride toothpaste. It is also important to floss between your teeth at least once a day. Scheduling regular dental cleanings every six months will allow the dentist to remove any build-up of plaque and give them the opportunity to treat dental issues while they are still small, which can also help to prevent bad breath and tooth decay.