Bad breath in 'Bad Grandpa'
SUMMARY: Johnny Knoxville's character in the new movie "Bad Grandpa" doesn't shy away from discussing drug-induced halitosis.
Posted: November 1, 2013
Johnny Knoxville has returned to the big screen. This time, the "Jackass" actor stars in the fully senile and crippling-ly hilarious movie "Bad Grandpa," which shows widowed grandpa Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) left to take care of his grandson Billy, whose mother is going to jail.
Early on, Zisman talks candidly to a waiting room full of people, who are not part of the film nor its brutal inside jokes. Grandpa shares how Billy's mother has bad breath induced by drugs. Indeed, crack cocaine can do nasty things. But jokes aside, hundreds of legal drugs and over-the-counter medications produce a similar effect of halitosis.
Everything from muscle relaxants to antihistamine, high blood pressure, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, antidepressant and Parkison's disease medications can lead to an oral odor. This is often part of an underlying cause, since medications trigger dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is the decreased production of saliva. Normally, saliva serves as a natural lubricating agent, rinsing down food bits and providing antibodies against the anaerobic bacteria, which is known for its sulfuric smell. Furthermore, saliva neutralizes acids and helps teeth in the remineralization process.
Yet while salivary flow is halted and dry mouth kicks in, bacteria and food residue accumulates, causing bad breath.
Though Knoxville is initially the spear-thrower of the joke, it's fairly common for the elderly to come down with bad breath too. In fact, one in three older adults has dry mouth. Aging itself is not a risk factor for the condition, but seniors are more likely to take daily medications that have it as a side effect. Other causes of dry mouth include stress, Sjogren's syndrome, which is an autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, chemotherapy treatments and others.
If you find yourself with a sticky feeling in the mouth or frequent thirst, cracked lips or a burning sensation on the tongue, you may want to get checked out for dry mouth.
Certainly, Knoxville's character undermines all things serious, but dry mouth can indeed have severe consequences. It is responsible for tooth decay, especially root decay, which can result in infection and even tooth loss. It can affect your ability to swallow, eat, taste, and speak, thus heavily afflicting quality of life.
How to prevent dry mouth
Here are the best methods of preventing dry mouth and its stinky side effects:
• Drink extra water during the day and with meals. Fluoridated water is the best, since it helps decrease dental decay.
• Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Even if you don't have xerostomia, don't hesitate to contact your dentist. Being proactive is one of the top ways to avoid the troublesome condition. After all, like many disorders, the best cure is prevention.
• Use an oral moisturizer, which is a spray that provides temporary relief and protection to irritated areas in the mouth. It also you with short-term fresh breath. It's portable and discreet, so you can use it on-the-go and in situations where you may not have water on hand.
• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice each day. Floss daily. It's also best to avoid mouthwashes with alcohol - they are actually counterproductive. The alcohol dries out the mouth, worsening the sticky feeling and leading to halitosis.
• Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless mints, particularly those with the natural sweetener xylitol, which protects against tooth decay.
• Steer clear of tobacco products. Like alcohol, tobacco dries out your mouth. It also increases your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
• Notify your dentist or doctor if your mouth feels dry. If you believe it to be caused by medications, don't stop taking them, but instead talk to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.