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Nov 12, 2007

Dry Mouth Causes

It's a simple fact that having a dry mouth causes bad breath. It is probably not immediately obvious to many of us why this should be so, but the explanation makes sense when you think about it. Our mouths are being constantly bathed by saliva. It keeps the tissues moist and contains antibodies and enzymes that help fight off infection. It plays a key role in controlling the population of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in our mouths.

There are billions of bacteria living in our mouths - and before you rush for the antiseptic mouthwash, you should know that they are meant to be there. In most cases, they do no harm at all and even assist in breaking down food particles and preventing infection. Having a dry mouth causes some bacteria to do better, and others to do poorly. To make matters worse, among the causes of dry mouth are things that actually provide nutrients for an undesirable group of bacteria - the ones that cause bad breath.

What are the causes of dry mouth? Well, first, there are things that decrease saliva flow. Sleep is one. Advancing age is another. Many drugs cause a decrease in saliva production as a side effect, as do alcohol and coffee, and of course, some medical conditions are dry mouth causes. When there is less saliva in the mouth, the environment at the back of the tongue where odor-producing bacteria live becomes more anaerobic, that is, there is less oxygen there, which favors the proliferation of these undesirable bacteria.

Other causes of dry mouth include exposure to air with a natural drying effect. Breathing through the mouth is the main factor here. It happens when we sleep and is worse if we snore. It happens when there is nasal congestion or inflammation of the sinuses, and some people just habitually breath through the mouth. Unfortunately, nasal congestion and sinus drainage, besides being dry mouth causes, contribute to bad breath by delivering nutrients to the back of the tongue in the form of nutrient rich drainage down the back of the throat.

Clearly, there are some causes of dry mouth that can be avoided. Coffee, alcohol, and some drugs are optional. Snoring can sometimes be treated, and humidity can be added to the air in a bedroom with a humidistat or humidifier. Colds and sinus problems can often be treated if they don't clear up on their own. Other dry mouth causes, however are simply not going to go away, and for these, you'll need to tackle the resulting halitosis with a good commercial product that acts on the odor-producing bacteria causing the problem at the back of the mouth.

R. Drysdale is a freelance writer with more than 25 years experience as a health care professional. She is a contributing editor to Dry Mouth Causes, a blog dedicated to the treatment of bad breath.

1 comment:

habib khan said...

very important article about cause of dry mouth.Thanks!
causes of dry mouth