Are you singing the bad breath woes? If you are experiencing dry mouth that could very well be your problem. There is a definite connection between bad breath and dry mouth. You can have a dry mouth because of several common reasons including not drinking enough water each day, side effect from medications you are currently taking. Reasons for dry mouth that are rare but may be the root cause are disease and not manufacturing enough oral saliva. How do we know we have dry mouth?
Obviously identifying the fact that we have dry mouth will help to correct the problem and avoid bad breath. Most of us know when we have dry mouth but may not know that the dry mouth is causing us to have bad breath unless someone informs us that we have bad breath. This information can be embarrassing. A dentist or doctor can tell us that we have bad breath when they are examining our mouth and that is a little less embarrassing way to find out but still no one wants to be told they have bad breath no matter how we find out.
Once we know we have dry mouth and that we also have bad breath the connection may or may not be made that the one is causing the other. Why does dry mouth cause bad breath?
The saliva that we collect in our mouth as we smell food or taste it has a role to play in the digestion of food. Saliva also moistens our mouth so that it can stabilize the pH in our mouth so that the acid levels do not rise too high. Saliva also acts to keep oxygen levels high inside our mouth so that the oral tissues can stay healthy and fresh smelling inside our mouth.
Dry mouth (xerostomia in the medical community) occurs when you have less saliva than is normally found in the oral cavity. When you have less saliva than is needed in your mouth, there is a decreased supply of oxygen, which means that the oral environment (your mouth) becomes more of an anaerobic environment (environment without oxygen) in which sulfur-producing bacteria can thrive. The bacteria multiply and produce higher levels of sulfur gases. These higher levels of sulfur gases within your mouth is what causes that unpleasant smell coming out of your mouth when you speak called, “bad breath”.
Now that you know you have dry mouth, and that you have bad breath and also know that the two are connected you can take some steps to break the cycle. When you identify what is causing your dry mouth you can correct the problem and stop the bad breath. Many people will instead use mouthwash or breath mints to try to get rid of the bad breath. These products only mask the odor; which then later returns because the dry mouth problem still exists. If you identify the problem and correct it, the bad breath will disappear instead of just being hidden temporarily.
How do you correct the problem of dry mouth?
There are several steps you can take to correct dry mouth.
If you are experiencing dry mouth because you do not drink enough water each day then, the solution is obvious – drink at least 8 – 8 oz. glasses of water every day. Water does not include soda or drinks that contain caffeine. Your body needs pure water. Drinks that are made with water but do not include caffeine can count towards this daily water count.
One way to help moisten your mouth is to suck on sugarless hard candy or to chew sugarless gum. Doing these things will stimulate your mouth to produce saliva.
If you do not manufacture enough saliva on a regular basis or have a disease that contributes to dry mouth such as diabetes or kidney disease your doctor can diagnose these conditions and tell you what can be done about dry mouth.
If you are taking medication that has a side effect of dry mouth such as antihistamines, speak with your doctor about the side effect that you are experiencing to see if the dosage of your medication can safely be adjusted or a different medication can be prescribed that will not give you this side effect.