While dissatisfactory oral hygiene is the most prevalent cause of halitosis, many conditions can contribute to or intensify 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 stability. Immunoproteins in saliva curb the overgrowth of microbes in the mouth, thereby protecting the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This guards against decay and infections.
Many men and women are plagued with a dry mouth occasionally; perhaps when they are experiencing 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 periodic periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can bring about additional oral and physical health issues.
I am Dr. Kernagis of Kernagis Dental Excellence. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 2001. If you experience either condition, we recommend that you set up an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you pinpoint the source and guide you on treatment.
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