One of the leading causes of oral malodor can come from xerostomia (dry mouth). Xerostomia better known as dry mouth is a common occurrence in many people. One of the contributing factors to dry mouth is medication such as certain heart medication, antidepressants. Stress, smoking, and age are also things that can cause xerostomia.
Saliva is a very important bodily function. Saliva washes out the mouth of food debris, sugars, and bacteria. Without saliva food cannot be easily washed away therefore the starch and sugars with remain on your teeth longer causing possible plaque buildup, thus leading to tooth decay and possibly gum disease and ultimately causing a foul odor from your mouth and or tooth loss. Bacteria need to be constantly washed away. Without saliva, bacteria will stay in the gums, between teeth, and on the surface of the tongue. These bacteria will then break down and produce volatile sulfur compounds resulting in irritation of the tissues and bad breath.
The first step to try and teat bad breath is to eliminate the source although sometimes the answer is not that easy if the cause of xerostomia is age or medication. Therefore, keeping your mouth clean and using mechanical techniques for getting rid of debris with a tongue scraper and tooth brush are of the utmost importance. Using alcoholic based mouth washes like scope or Listerine can cause further xerostomia and even further irritation due to its high alcohol content. A non-alcoholic, saliva promoting mouth rinse such as Biotene or oxyfresh are the best options to promote good oral health.
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