While inadequate oral hygiene is the most prevalent cause of halitosis, many elements 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 strength. Immunoproteins in saliva inhibit 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 tooth decay and infections.
Many people 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 infrequent periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can bring about additional oral and physical health dilemmas.
I am Doctor Miely of Mark A. Miely DDS. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 1983. If you are plagued with either condition, we recommend that you book an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you identify the source and guide you on treatment.
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