Fact or Fiction: Mouth Odor

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

We’ve all had bad breath at some point, but you may not know exactly how serious it can be -- or how to keep it from happening. Or do you? Test your knowledge about some causes of mouth odor.

Some people just naturally have bad breath.

Bad breath, or halitosis, almost always has a cause, whether it's something simple like eating garlic or something more serious like an underlying medical condition.

Using mints, gum or regular mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily.

If your bad breath is food-related, a mint might do the trick. But chronic bad breath will come back until you figure out what’s causing it.

Bad breath only comes from the tongue.

Bacteria on the tongue is the cause of many cases of bad breath, but odor from the gums can also be to blame.

Bad breath can be caused by poor dental hygiene.

Not brushing and flossing not only allows food to literally rot in your mouth, but it also provides a food source for odor-causing bacteria.

All bacteria in the mouth are harmful.

Researchers estimate that there are thousands of different types of bacteria living in your mouth, but the majority of them are harmless.

A gum disease known as periodontal disease may be responsible for bad breath.

If the smell is coming from your gums, you may have the first stages of periodontal disease, known as gingivitis.

Bacteria in the mouth can emit stinky waste gases after feeding off proteins in our saliva and food remnants.

Some bacteria release sulfuric compounds, which can make your gums smell like rotten eggs.

It’s normal for teeth to become yellow over time.

While some yellowing can be caused by stains, it may also be plaque -- a filmy buildup of bacteria that can cause gingivitis.

Most people figure out that they have gingivitis before ever seeing a dentist.

While gingivitis can cause bleeding, red and swollen gums, many people don’t notice the symptoms.

Bad breath is rarely caused by anything life-threatening.

Diseases such as diabetes can also cause bad breath, although patients normally have more obvious symptoms, too.

Dentists diagnose chronic bad breath by simply asking you to blow your breath in their faces.

While there is a “smell test," dentists also use laboratory instruments like a halimeter, which measures the sulfuric compounds in your breath.

Bad breath is such a common problem that there’s an international society to study its causes and treatment.

The International Society for Breath Odor Research was formed in 1995 and holds conferences every few years to share research on the topic.

It’s best to focus on the biting surfaces of your teeth when brushing them.

Many people forget to brush along the gum line or to run the floss under their gum line (if they floss at all).

It's possible to brush your teeth and gums too hard.

Consistent, rough brushing of your gum line can cause the gums to recede, so less is more.

It’s OK if you don’t brush or floss well as long as you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office.

Good oral hygiene at home can prevent gum odor and its causes, making trips to the dentist much easier.

If you’re very careful about taking care of your teeth, you only need to visit the dentist if you have a problem.

Dentists recommend twice-yearly cleanings to help prevent plaque buildup, as well as to check for any problems that you may not have noticed yet.

If your gums bleed every time you brush or floss them, you may have a serious dental problem.

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gingivitis and should be reported to your dentist.

Gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which can result in deep pockets around teeth and loose teeth.

Bacteria can inflame and irritate the gums so much that the body begins attacking tissue and bone.

Periodontal disease can lead to even worse health problems.

Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums and cause infections elsewhere, such as in heart valves.

Once periodontal disease leads to tooth and bone loss, there’s nothing a dentist can do to stop the spread of the disease.

In extreme cases, dentists perform bone and tissue grafts to repair the deep pockets left by periodontal disease and get rid of the inflammation.

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