While poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis, many factors 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 stability. Immunoproteins in saliva suppress 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 cavities and infections.
Many people are plagued with dry mouth infrequently; 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 sporadic periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can result in additional oral and physical health dilemmas.
I am Dr. Phan of OKC Smiles. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 1986. 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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