While substandard oral hygiene is the most common 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 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 durability. Immunoproteins in saliva inhibit the overgrowth of microbes in the mouth, thereby preserving the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This guards against tooth decay and infections.
Many people experience dry mouth once in a while; 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 sporadic 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 Dr. Blackwood of Salt Lake Dental Care – Clint Blackwood DDS. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 2005. If you experience either condition, we recommend that you book an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you discover the source and guide you on treatment.
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