Bad breath, more commonly known as halitosis, is a social detriment and hence, should be addressed at once. The mouth, which includes the teeth, gums and the top surface of the tongue, is the most common source of bad breath. A dry mouth is responsible for bad breath.
A dry mouth dehydrates, and concentrates saliva and mucous that coats the mouth and leads to a proliferation of bacteria in the mouth. Volatile waste products are produced by the bacteria which smell and taste foul. The commonest type of bad breath caused by dry mouth is morning breath, due to breathing through the mouth whilst sleeping. Elderly people also develop a dry mouth, which is partly due to ageing but primarily due to the numerous drugs taken. They may be prescription or non prescription drugs.
Problems of the upper respiratory tract also give rise to bad breath. Halitosis is also caused by problems emanating in the stomach often associated with chronic vomiting.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that cause dry mouth include anticholinergics (used as decongestants) anti-depressants, anorexiants (diet pills), antipsychotics (psychiatric drugs), anti-Parkinson agents, sedatives (sleeping pills) and diuretics (water pills).
Some drugs actually cause halitosis, not originating in the mouth. Patients recovering from anesthesia are a case in point. Surgery personnel can confirm to the incredible bad breath emanating from such persons.
Illegal recreational drugs are also responsible for a chronic dry mouth. Addicts are poor in oral hygiene and use huge quantities of sugar leading to tooth decay. The drugs which cause problems are cocaine, ecstasy etc.
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