Saturday, 29 September 2012

Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

By Michael Hehn

Xerostomia.  You probably never heard of the word -- unless you went to dental school.  Xerostomia is what you and I call dry mouth.  Dry mouth results when the usual, constant flow of saliva decreases for whatever reason.  
This condition may be the result of any number of problems, including medications.  Dry mouth may also result if you continually breathe through your mouth. 
It's also a condition that increases the older you get.  Now, don't go looking so smugly at the Baby Boomer sitting next to you.  Your saliva begins to dry up the moment you reach your mid-20s.  Ouch!) 
Most cases of dry mouth begin -- believe it or not, with prescription medication.  The most notorious of these is those medications are prescribed to you due to high blood pressure or depression. 
Before you say "that's not me," just read all the various medications and various medical conditions that can produce dry mouth. If you take any types of antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers or even high blood pressure medications you may experience dry mouth.    
But that doesn't mean those muscle relaxants you're taking aren't causing your bad breath by creating dry mouth.  But it certain may be. 
But that's not all.  Here's a list of some of the other medications and medical conditions that are associated with dry mouth and perhaps your chronic bad breath: 
  • Drugs for urinary incontinence
  • Drugs for Parkinson disease
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medications 
Realistically speaking, dry mouth is an adverse side effect of some 400 various medications!  Yep ...400.  Who would have ever thought!  If you have any questions about whether one of the medications you're currently taking may be affecting the quality of breath, start your investigation with your prescribing physician. 
If he can't give you a satisfactory answer, check out the medication on its official web site.  If bad breath isn't listed as a side effect, don't give up.  Find a number for the manufacturer of the medication you're taking and ask a customer service representative.

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