Most of us have had a dry palate at one point or another, and typically a specialty breath freshening rinse can clear up the problem in a jiffy. But if your tongue and cheeks get parched periodically, you may suffer from a dry mouth syndrome, which can give you bad breath and a whole lot more.
These syndromes come into two types - namely, primary and secondary. A secondary condition means it is a symptom of a larger health problem, while a primary syndrome is the problem.
Here are two dry mouth syndromes that can cause chronic halitosis and poor dental health.
- Xerostomia. This is a secondary syndrome, but most public health agencies treat it like its own problem, since it can be so uncomfortable. Also known as cottonmouth, xerostomia is a condition in which saliva becomes almost totally absent from the mouth.
Several things can cause it. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain medications can temporarily dry out your mouth, leaving you halitosis and a sere, sticky tongue. These drugs include antihistamines, decongestants and medications for depression, high blood pressure and urinary incontinence.
Advanced age and nerve damage can also lead to this dry mouth syndrome. Besides prescription mouth-moistening droplets, the best way to treat xerostomia is by gargling periodically with a specialty breath freshener.
- Sjogren's syndrome. This one's a little more serious. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the salivary glands, tear ducts and other regions of the body that need to maintain constant moisture. According to the National Institutes of Health, nine out of 10 people with this dry mouth syndrome are women.
Recently, tennis star Venus Williams revealed that she suffers from Sjogren's syndrome. While a dry palate and bad breath may not sound like much, medical experts warn that the condition can also attack the lungs, kidneys, blood vessels or gastrointestinal tract. Likewise, Sjogren's has been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Obviously, this condition requires more than a mouthrinse to treat it. However, medical professionals recommend that people with the dry mouth syndrome regularly use mouth-moistening products in order to reduce their risk of halitosis and dental decay.
The Mayo Clinic notes that Sjogren's syndrome can naturally decline over time. However, if you notice that you have chronic halitosis and your eyes and mouth are constantly dry, consider speaking to your physician about it.