Plenty of the causes of oral odor are obvious. Eating pungent foods, smoking, drinking alcohol or sleeping with your mouth open - these are all vectors of halitosis that are easily noticed and dealt with. But what about the subtler causes of bad breath, like xerostomia (the subjective sensation of dry mouth)? Below we'll explain what this is and how to treat it with dry mouth products.
Don't let its exotic scientific name fool you: Xerostomia is a simple problem with an intuitive solution.
The word simply means "dry mouth." You might be interested to know that its Greek root - xeros, meaning "dry" - is also the basis for the unmissable name of a popular copy machine brand, Xerox. (After all, Xerox machines create dry duplicates, unlike a printer, which uses wet ink.)
Now, xerostomia isn't always the right word to describe your parched palate, since it denotes chronic dry mouth. So if you wake up once with a dry tongue and throat, you probably don't have xerostomia. But you do have dry mouth!
Low-saliva environments are perfect for bacterial growth, which is why a parched mouth can lead to bad breath. This means that dry mouth products that actively moisten your palate - like specialty breath freshening rinses and mouth-wetting lozenges - are perfect for fighting oral odor.
Why do microbes respond negatively to your spit? That's because it inhibits bacterial growth. Consider a editorial concerning the best ways to treat dry mouth among elderly people with dentures. Published in the journal Geriatrics and Gerontology International, the article starts with the awesomely terse sentiment that "saliva is a versatile substance."
It sure is. Saliva helps break down food, cleanse the tongue, suppress bacteria and lubricate food. No wonder your breath stinks when you have xerostomia!
In the article, researchers concluded that one effective way to help elderly people fight this condition is to give them a dry mouth product - specifically, artificial saliva.
This is certainly an interesting idea, but you don't have to reinvent the wheel just to keep the mouth wet and odor-free. Instead, it may be preferable to by specialty breath freshening breath gums, mints or mouth-wetting lozenges. These products can stimulate saliva production, neutralize bad breath and alleviate bacteria in a trice!