Is There a Link between Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) and Bad Breath?
Needless to say, dry mouth is one of the main causes of bad breath. Try to smell your breath the moment your mouth goes dry. You are most likely to notice that your breath is turning from good to foul right then.
On the average, the mouth produces around four to six cups of saliva. And if the salivary glands fail to produce that amount every day, the symptoms of xerostomia would show. Severe dry mouth may cause burning sensations in the tongue and in the mouth area.
There are many reasons why a person develops dry mouth. It could be caused by one’s medications, dehydration, alcohol intake, use of alcohol-based rinses, or even old age. There are also some diseases that can trigger dry mouth. For these cases, bad breath or halitosis becomes inevitable.
But regardless of the reason why dry mouth occur, the disturbing fact still remains – people with dry mouth tend to have bacteria greatly concentrated on their saliva. The sulfur compounds produced by bacteria would evaporate readily into the air. This is what exactly happens inside your mouth the moment it gets dry. Generally speaking, people with dry mouth tend to have a stronger and a more noticeable foul-smelling breath.
Dry mouth and the bacteria’s concentration in the saliva also bring about imbalance in the mouth’s acid-base state. And this condition is very conducive to further bacterial growth. The main job of the saliva is to cleanse the mouth and flush away impurities. In the absence of saliva, both bacteria and debris may accumulate in the mouth and oral cavities.
Saliva also functions to provide the mouth with the necessary levels of oxygen to keep its tissues fresh and healthy. People with dry mouth or those with reduced levels of saliva tend to have lesser oxygen content in the mouth area. Without oxygen, sulfur gases become prominent. Sulfur makes one’s breath go bad and one’s sense of taste even worse.
To treat dry mouth and eventually prevent bad breath, certain things have to be avoided. For starters, keep away from using mouth washes that contain alcohol or sodium lauryl sulfate. Citrus fruit juices should be avoided as well. Examples of such drinks are grapefruit, orange, tomato, and lemon juice. Too much caffeine and smoking may contribute to dry mouth and bad breath too.
People who tend to develop dry mouth are advised to consult with their doctors and dentists regularly. If the problem is caused by medical concerns such as thyroid problems or diabetes, the necessary medications should be taken. Drinking more than eight glasses of water a day would greatly help a lot. And instead of drinking fruit juices, Vitamin C supplements can be used to boost one’s immune system for a better chance against bacterial infestation in the mouth.
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