While dissatisfactory oral hygiene is the most prevalent cause of halitosis, many circumstances 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 strength. Immunoproteins in saliva curb 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 protects against tooth decay and infections.
Many people suffer from the 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 result in additional oral and physical health dilemmas.
I am Dr. Montz of Montz and Maher Dental Group. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 1997. If you suffer from either condition, we recommend that you schedule an exam and consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will help you discover the source and guide you on treatment.
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