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FAQ:  Xerostomia - Dry Mouth


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Question:
Need something that works - not overpriced products: I brush my teeth 7 times a day, and scrape my tongue. I cannot escape my bad breath.

I have good hygiene, but no one would know that by smelling me. I overhear people saying I dont brush my teeth and other rude comments. I have tried the over priced tooth pastes and rinses. I have done the halometer in the past.

I complained to my Drs and dentists and no one cares to do anything to help me. The worse thing is the social impact all this has caused me, not to mention I feel like I lost my job behind this.

I am in desperate need of someone who can actually help me, not just try to sell me overpriced products that DONT WORK. Is there anyone that takes a medical AND dental approach combined? ...Visitor from CA

Answer:
Halitosis can occur in people who have very clean teeth and gums. Bad breath is caused by Anaerobic Sulfur Producing Bacteria which normally live WITHIN the surface of the tongue and in the throat.

These bacteria are supposed to be there, because they assist humans in digestion by breaking down proteins found in specific foods, mucous or phlegm, blood, and in diseased or "broken-down" oral tissue. Under certain conditions, these bacteria start to break down proteins at a very high rate. Proteins are made up of Amino Acids. Two of the Amino Acids (Cysteine and Methionine) are dense with sulfur.

When these beneficial bacteria come into contact with these compounds, the odorous and "lousy-tasting" sulfur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat, as Hydrogen Sulfide, Methyl Mercaptan, and other odorous and bad tasting compounds. These "problem" compounds are often referred to as volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), where volatile means Vaporous and Effervescent. Speaking about bacteria, there is one other fact that you must understand about these bacteria. They are classified as "Anaerobic" - which literally means "Without Oxygen". They thrive in an environment where Oxygen is NOT present. That is why they DO NOT LIVE ON THE SURFACE OF YOUR TONGUE! They live in between the papillae (fibers) that make up your tongue!

Although some cases of dry mouth are naturally occurring, most cases are caused by one of these factors; prescription medications (usually prescribed for high blood pressure or depression) antihistamines, adult beverages, and mouthwashes with alcohol in them.

When your mouth is dryer, you have less saliva. Saliva naturally contains Oxygen, which keeps your mouth healthy and fresh. These bacteria are anaerobic, which simply means that they will thrive and make more sulfur in the presence of little or no oxygen.

Thus if you have less saliva, you have less oxygen, thereby creating an anaerobic environment, perfect for the bacteria to produce more of these odorous and sour/bitter compounds. For people with Dry Mouth (Xerostomia), products such as Biotene can provide relief.

In summary, many patients have found relief with TheraBreath and Biotene products, check your pharmacy. Stay away from mouthrinses that contain alcohol.

Editorial Staff

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