The effectiveness of a mouthwash for dry mouth depends on its enzyme content and ability to eliminate bad-breath-causing anaerobic bacteria commonly associated with dry mouth. Some mouthwashes contain ingredients that only mask halitosis and do not attack the root cause of the problem. Mouth rinses containing alcohol, menthol or eucalyptol may temporarily freshen breath but does nothing to oxygenate the mouth, a process necessary to eradicate sulfurous oral anaerobes.
In addition to anaerobes, the mouth is host to many other bacteria such as staphylococci, streptococci and lactobacilli. When allowed to accumulate on teeth, gumlines, the tongue and the back of the throat due to stagnant oral conditions lacking in saliva and oxygen, these bacterial colonies begin eroding teeth enamel, inflaming gums and facilitating anaerobic bacteria reproduction. When the gum disease gingivitisis left untreated, a serious condition called ANUG, or acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis may result, leading to periodontal disease, tooth loss and even sepsis.
Using a mouthwash for dry mouth that contains ingredients meant to stimulate the flow of saliva and inhibit bacterial growth will effectively reduce bad breath odors. This is because oral anaerobic bacteria, which dislike oxygenated environments, consume dormant proteins, mucus and debris in a mouth that is not brushed or flossed enough.
The excrement released by these bacteria is rich with sulfurous compounds emitting odors resembling rotten eggs, dirty socks and even decaying meat. As a result, chronic halitosis affects individuals suffering from dry mouth and accelerated activity by anaerobic bacteria.
What Should a Good Mouthwash for Dry Mouth Contain?
Xylitol--contained in vegetable and fruit fibers and used as a sugar substitute, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that exhibits qualities conducive to the prevention of dental caries and oral bacterial growth. Studies regarding xylitol's effects on oral hygiene have revealed that the molecular structure of xylitol helps saliva remineralize dental enamel before bacteria belonging to the mutans streptococci have a chance to start eroding teeth. Additionally, xylitol creates an alkaline condition in the mouth (i.e., a pH level above seven) that provides weak enamel with beneficial phosphate salts and calcium.
Zinc chloride--metal compounds such as zinc chloride react offensively against anaerobic bacteria to reduce sulfur excretion and bad breath. Typically, copper or zinc is mixed with odor-killing essential oils in mouthwashes intended to relieve dry mouth and halitosis. However, once the metallic compounds in a mouthwash have reacted with anaerobe secretions this temporary, albeit effective, remedy for halitosis disappears and the bad breath eventually returns.
A mouthwash for dry mouth based on zinc or copper alone may not contain the necessary antibacterial elements required to successfully eliminate the problem of chronic halitosis. However, it can help hydrate the mouth and reduce other problems related to dry mouth such as cracking lips, sore throat and decreased taste sensitivity.
OXYD-8® --a proprietary stabilized oxychlor compound created by TheraBreath founder Dr. Harold Katz, OXYD-8® is a highly effective compound that defeats bad breath and gets rid of bitter, metallic or sour tastes frequently bothering people with chronic halitosis and dry mouth. By removing electrons from the chemical composition of an overly acidic mouth, OXYD-8® produces an oxygen rich environment in which anaerobic activity is severely curtailed and the flow of saliva is optimized.
Because Dr. Katz is the exclusive inventor and owner of OXYD-8®, his TheraBreath mouthwashes are the only oral hygiene products currently available that contain OXYD-8®.
Dr Katz Discusses the Best Mouthwash Dry Mouth
In this video, Dr. Katz discusses the best mouthwash for dry mouth and how it may be most effectively used.
Why Treat Dry Mouth?
Besides causing strong, embarrassing mouth odor, the consequences of not using a mouthwash for dry mouth and practicing better oral hygiene may include:
- Repeated oral fungal infections
- Plaque and tartar build-up, a direct cause of gingivitis and periodontal disease
- Mouth lesions such as canker sores and abscesses
- Experiencing increased acid reflux symptoms
- Swallowing difficulties
Saliva also contains enzymes that promote digestion of food and neutralizes acidic substances before they enter the body. When dry mouth consistently affects the amount of saliva flowing in the mouth, digestive processes may be disrupted, resulting in possible gastrointestinal problems.
When choosing a mouthwash for dry mouth, avoid those with alcohol as one of the ingredients. Although alcohol kills bacteria, research has found that mouthwashes containing alcohol may promote carcinogenic activity within the mouth. According to a literature review published in a 2008 issue of the Australian Dental Journal, sufficient evidence exists that shows alcohol may increase rates of oral cancer in people who frequently use mouthwashes containing alcohol. Their use should therefore be restricted and considered as only a temporary remedy for dry mouth. Click here to learn more about dry mouth.