Dry Mouth = Oral Bacteria = Bad Breath

Posted on Jul 08, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Occasionally, we all have breath that is unpleasant. After waking in the morning or drinking a cup of coffee,  our breath is stale.
Coffee Cup
When bad breath is persistent, it is likely a symptom of periodontal (gum) disease. If gum disease is the reason for your breath odor, you may also notice gum tenderness, seeing blood in the sink when brushing or gums that darken in color. Otherwise, the problem is likely related to dry mouth.

Your mouth is stale and sticky when you wake up because your oral tissues are dry, allowing bacteria to accumulate. As they multiply, bacteria form plaque, which is a smelly film you can feel on teeth.

Naturally, poor oral hygiene allows oral bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Without regular brushing, bacteria reproduce – rapidly. Remember – bacteria are living creatures that have taken up residence in your mouth. All the while, they are eating, reproducing and emitting waste. Could there be a more motivating image to brush?!!!

Periodic dry mouth can be caused by alcoholic beverages or coffee. Although sugary drinks don’t necessarily dry oral tissues, they are an ideal food for bacteria reproduction.

Also drying are some medications, which can decrease saliva flow that works to move bacteria from the mouth. Many antihistamines and some medications for depression and urinary incontinence, among others, can cause dry mouth.

Medical conditions, such as acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis can also contribute to dry mouth. A bad cold or just being in the habit of breathing through the mouth are drying as well.

And the worst reason of all for dry mouth? Smoking.

Once the reason for your breath odor has been determined, simple measures can often freshen it up!
 – Brush at least twice daily. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue with your toothbrush after brushing teeth.
 – Floss daily. If you find this action difficult, buy an electronic or water flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water! If you take medications that have a drying side effect, use an oral rinse that acts as saliva. There are many available over-the-counter.

Nothing assures you of fresh breath like a clean, healthy mouth. If you have symptoms of gum disease or feel you have persistent bad breath, call (828) 274-9440 to arrange an examination.

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