Your Dry Mouth and Bad Breath Might be Linked

The winter season brings with it many things: time with family, the spirit of giving, cold weather and dry mouth. Yes it’s true. The cold and sometimes dry weather can cause dry mouth (if you don’t have it already). Here are some articles that discuss bad breath and even offer some explanations and solutions.

Let’s back up a little and talk about dry mouth in general. Most people experience bad breath or morning breath from sleeping. This is because many tend to sleep with their mouths open or even snore, making your mouth dry while you sleep. But for others, dry mouth syndrome can be blamed for chronic halitosis and also dry eyes.

This can be due to Sjogren’s syndrome which is an autoimmune disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that people that have Sjogren’s have dryness is both their eyes and mouth because their immune systems attack their salivary glands and can also lead to hindered tear production and even arthritis. While you might not know anyone with this syndrome, it really is more common than people think.

Earlier this year famous tennis player Venus Williams publicly announced that she has Sjogren’s. She has dry mouth syndrome and it took doctors years before her halitosis, dry mouth and dry eyes were diagnosed. Williams is one of 4 million Americans who have this disease. Interestingly, the NIH stated that nine out of ten people with halitosis due to dry mouth syndrome are women. To treat this condition, lip balm and artificial saliva can be helpful and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is good advice regardless of who you are. Sucking on lozenges or any type of hard candy can be helpful in keeping one’s mouth moist throughout the day – just be sure to stay away from candy that has sugar as it can cause more problems such as tooth decay while trying to help with oral dryness. Gargling with an alcohol-free mouthwash can also be helpful, even to those that only experience morning breath.

If you do notice that your mouth and/or eyes are constantly dry and that you have halitosis, despite following all of the suggestions mentioned above, consider checking in with your doctor to make sure there isn’t something more than just pesky morning breath.

Another article offers more causes of dry mouth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) states that many things can dry your mouth and tongue out, ultimately leading to unwanted bad breath. As we talked about above, sleeping with your mouth open while sleeping in one of the main culprits, but there is little that can be done about that. Other factors include smoking, heave exercise, anxiety or stress and even excessive talking; all can lead to cotton mouth.

It’s true that Sjorgen’s syndrome does have dry mouth as one of the main side effects of the autoimmune disease as it affects your salivary glands and tear ducts. While this condition is life-long, just being mindful of it and taking the proper steps to quench a dry mouth can really make a big difference. Many medications also list dry mouth as a side effect. The NIDCR also notes that nerve damage, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer can also cause a sandy or cottony tongue and mouth. Salvia is essential for reducing tooth decay, oral bacterial growth and helping to breakdown food. Trying an oral care probiotic can help to balance out the flora of the bacteria in your oral cavity while also helping to stop bad breath naturally. Oral care probiotics have many benefits so if you are thinking about trying one, be sure to do your research and find one that is specifically for your oral needs rather than digestive.

It’s pretty safe to say that dry mouth (also known as Xerostomia) has been around as long as people have. In fact, there’s even an old sailor’s saying: Dry mouth at night: bacteria’s delight. Dry mouth at morning: halitosis! Take warning! So this condition is nothing new. It may just be an annoying occurrence first thing in the morning, but dry mouth shouldn’t be glossed over. It can lead to not only cause chronic bad breath but deep cavities and other dental issues. Dry mouth at night is due to the fact that most people tend to sleep with their mouths open. This type of foul breath has its own name for good reason.

Morning breath can be more than just your average bad breath because it has all night to allow bacteria in your mouth to multiply. When you are sleeping, the jaw relaxes and opens and your salivary glands can’t replace the saliva in your mouth as quickly as it evaporates; not to mention that fact that your brain knows you’re asleep and not eating, so its production levels are even lower while you slumber. This leads to the tongue and palate drying out very quickly. So the six or eight hours that you do sleep are prime breeding time for the bacteria to colonize every space possible in your mouth leading to same awful morning breath and a layer of scum on your teeth. This is the main reason why brushing, flossing and rinsing your mouth out in the mornings are so important.

Dry mouth isn’t the only thing that can cause bad breath. Dental experts also blame poor oral hygiene, tobacco use and tooth decay. A recent study at the Catholic University of Leuven was conducted by a team of Belgian researchers. They found that of 2,000 patients treated in a halitosis clinic, 43 percent had a coated tongue when admitted. When one’s mouth is dry, a sticky white coating can appear on the back of the tongue that is a bacteria colony. It is able to grow and thrive every time dry mouth appears. 2.5 percent of the group of 2,000 was easily diagnosed with xerostomia – the salivary glands just weren’t able to keep the oral cavity moist. The fixes to this condition are what we have already stated: drinking plenty of water, rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash and using an oral care probiotic. But does a moist mouth really help with halitosis? ABC News offers babies as proof. They are constantly drooling and halitosis in babies is a rare occurrence.

While you are no longer a baby and there is little you can do about that (despite how much you might wish), the other tips listed above will definitely help you quench dry mouth and morning breath.

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