This message from The Richardson Dentist is about an unpleasant topic, halitosis – better known as bad breath. While poor oral hygiene is the most frequent cause of bad breath, many conditions can contribute to or worsen it. One of these is the lack of saliva, or xerostomia.
Saliva and Oral Health
Saliva moistens the teeth and gums and eliminates 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 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 guards against tooth decay and infections.
Many people suffer from dry mouth sporadically. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using OTC saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.
If you have occasional periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can bring about additional oral and physical health troubles.
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