While dissatisfactory oral hygiene is the most prevalent cause of halitosis, many elements can contribute to or exacerbate the condition. One of these is the lack of saliva or xerostomia.
Saliva and Oral Health
Saliva moistens the teeth and gums and cleans away 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 safeguarding 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 individuals experience dry mouth occasionally; 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 infrequent periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can lead to additional oral and physical health problems.
I am Dr. Lawrence Black of Black & Bass Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. I have been treating xerostomia and bad breath since 1989. If you experience either condition, I invite you to schedule an exam and consultation. If you struggle with bad breath regardless of dutiful oral hygiene, let me help you identify the source.
With help from my calm and comfortable team of dental professionals, I provide the full spectrum of general and cosmetic dental services including cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry and dental implants.