Dry Mouth & Bad Breath

Dry mouth is an uncomfortable problem that affects roughly one in four adults(1). When your body isn’t producing enough saliva, you can experience problems with chewing and swallowing. Many people also develop bad breath and, if left untreated, over time this develops into halitosis.

When your mouth is dry and the bad bacteria inside are not being washed away regularly, they proliferate. In doing so, they start producing odour-causing VSCs (volatile sulphur compounds) which form the perception of having bad breath.

How to alleviate bad breath or halitosis

Two of the key areas to focus upon when trying to get rid of bad breath caused by dry mouth is hydration and oral hygiene.

Ensure you are brushing a minimum of twice a day, flossing daily, and using an alcohol free oral rinse. When treating bad breath it is important to make sure you are using specialist products that not just mask bad breath for a short period of time. Specialised oral care products, developed to target the root cause of bad breath, will provide long-term results with regular use and keep you fresh breath confident.

Also aim to drink around 2 litres of water a day(2), the recommended amount for adults. This will keep your mouth moist and also help wash debris or bacteria away between brushing which are key bad breath triggers(3).

Why is saliva important?

Saliva is integral to the overall function and hygiene of the oral cavity. Not only does saliva enable us to taste, swallow, speak and digest food, it also helps protect our teeth and mouth from infections. It plays an important role in washing away bacteria that accumulates in the mouth, which can in turn cause bad breath and lead to a number of oral heath problems.

Although saliva is 99% water, the remaining components of electrolytes, enzymes and proteins are also extremely important for a complete and healthy oral function(3).

Dry mouth and your teeth

Without ample saliva being produced, the likelihood of developing plaque, which leads to tooth decay or even tooth loss, is heightened. If you are struggling with a dry mouth and are waiting to see a medical professional you can help yourself by brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing daily, and using a gentle toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Eating healthy snacks at regular intervals during the day could also increase the production of saliva in your mouth, helping with dry mouth and bad breath.

Causes of dry mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by a number of factors, these include:

  • Certain types of medication
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Ageing
  • Exercise
  • Poor dental health

Prolonged dry mouth

Whilst many people go through spells of having a dry mouth, if episodes are prolonged or it becomes your new normal, you need to seek medical help. Dry throat, mouth sores and cracked lips are side effects of long periods of dry mouth.

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