If you have been fighting bad breath, you may have noticed that your mouth often feels dry. This is not a coincidence! Keep reading to find out how dry mouth may be contributing to your oral woes, as well as what you can do about it.
Have you ever stopped to consider whether or not you have xerostomia (dry mouth)? While dry mouth is quite uncomfortable for some people, others may not realize they have it. Some common symptoms are feeling like your tongue or cheeks are sticking to your teeth (especially when speaking), a burning sensation, a change in your ability to taste foods, and a bad taste in your mouth. If you are unsure, have a discussion with your dentist or dental hygienist! They can assess your salivary flow and can help you determine if your mouth is unusually dry.
There are many causes of dry mouth. Do you find yourself breathing through your mouth? Mouth breathing dries out your oral environment. If you breathe through your mouth because your nose is often congested, you may talk with your doctor about treatment options. However, even if it is caused by a different problem, there may be ways your doctor can help. Additionally, consuming alcoholic beverages and using alcohol-containing products such as certain mouth rinses can dry out your mouth, further complicating the issue.
Certain serious health conditions can also cause dry mouth. In fact, it is one of the hallmark symptoms of diabetes . If you frequently experience dry mouth, excessive thirst, and excessive urination, you should talk with your doctor about getting tested for diabetes . Furthermore, some autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, can cause dry mouth. Lastly, dry mouth is one of the most common effects of prescription and over-the-counter prescriptions. However, you should take your medications as prescribed by your doctor to protect your health. Keep reading for tips on how to manage your dry mouth, whatever the cause!
Saliva is part of your mouth’s natural cleansing mechanism. When it is in short supply, food debris and bacteria collect at higher rates. Bacteria can overgrow, causing an acidic shift in oral pH . The more acidic your mouth is, the more the bad bacteria grow, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease . Also, severe dry mouth causes a painful burning sensation in the oral tissues. Burning mouth can impact quality of life.
Bad breath can be caused by sinus infections or drainage, poor oral home care, oral disease, dry mouth, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria (4). If you suffer from dry mouth, you may also experience bad breath. An unpleasant taste in your mouth is a clue that you have bad breath, or someone may have mentioned your breath odor to you.
Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, increasing your water intake can help combat dry mouth. If you are dehydrated, your saliva flow may also decrease. People with dry mouth should avoid too many alcoholic beverages as well as dental products containing alcohol, such as certain mouth rinses. Sugar-free mints and gum can help to stimulate saliva flow. Additionally, lozenges containing xylitol help to fight dry mouth as well as the bacterial overgrowth that may accompany it. If you feel that you are experiencing dry mouth, speak with your dental professional for further guidance on how to protect your oral health!