While dissatisfactory oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis, many conditions can contribute to or worsen the condition. One of these is the lack of saliva or xerostomia.
Saliva and Oral Health
Saliva moistens the teeth and gums and eliminates odiferous dead cells. Saliva also neutralizes the ever-present acids on the tongue, gums, and cheeks, and the minerals in saliva help to maintain enamel strength. Immunoproteins in saliva inhibit the overgrowth of microbes in the mouth, thereby safeguarding the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This protects against tooth decay and infections.
Many people are plagued with a dry mouth occasionally; perhaps when they are perceiving anxiety or stress. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using OTC saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.
If you have infrequent periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can lead to additional oral and physical health dilemmas.
I am Dr. Rodriguez of The Carrollton Dentist. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 2003. If you experience either condition, we recommend that you book an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you pinpoint the source and guide you on treatment.
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