Children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders often experience drooling and halitosis as a side effect of their conditions. A recent study has shown that targeted application of botulinum toxin may be able to relieve bad breath cause by excess salivation.
Research published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, indicated that small injections of the toxin can reduce salivation caused by the submandibular glands, which produce about 70 percent of the mouth’s moisture.
Botulinum toxin, the active ingredient in the cosmetic facial paralytic Botox, has been used for decades to treat crossed eyes, twitching muscles and tics.
The study’s authors found that injections of the toxin in the salivary glands of children with neurological disorders reduced drooling by half.
A side effect of the reduction was a noted decrease in bad breath in some participants.
Most bad breath is caused not by excess moisture but by a lack of it. Chronic dry mouth is one of the main factors associated with everyday halitosis. Sleeping with one’s mouth open, smoking, drinking coffee and exercise can all cause dry mouth, which allows oral bacteria to multiply and release odorous compounds.
While botulism toxin may relieve halitosis in certain specific cases, it is not a recommended cure for dry mouth. Instead, keeping the mouth moistened with water, brushing twice daily and using a specialty breath freshening rinse can neutralize odors and prevent bad breath caused by a dry palate.