While inadequate oral hygiene is the most frequent cause of halitosis, many factors 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 removes 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 safeguarding the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This protects against decay and infections.
Many men and women suffer from dry mouth sporadically; perhaps when they are feeling 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 occasional periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can bring about additional oral and physical health problems.
I am Drs. Blaisdell of Blaisdell Family Dentistry. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 1981. If you are plagued with either condition, we recommend that you set up an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you identify the source and guide you on treatment.
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