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Does a dry mouth cause bad breath?

Does a dry mouth cause bad breath?

Constant bad breath and dry mouth: Causes and cures

Do you constantly struggle with bad breath, no matter how much mouthwash or mints you use? Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is a common dental problem that can be caused by a variety of factors such as gum diseases, cavities or poor dental hygiene. 

However, what many don’t realise is that bad breath can be caused by having a dry mouth. While saliva is often thought of as simple water and enzymes, it also plays a major role when it comes to freshening up the odors that linger in our mouths. A dry mouth can trap odor-causing bacteria and allow them to accumulate, leading to nasty-smelling citrusy halitosis otherwise known as “bad breath.” 

So, if you have chronic mouth odor or morning breath and aren’t sure why, check out this article and discover whether or not having a dry mouth could be the cause!

At Point Dental, we can help you combat bad breath with a personalised oral hygiene plan addressing your concerns. Book in an appointment with us now for an oral exam.

The science behind a dry mouth and bad breath 

A dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, leaving your mouth overly dry and prone to bacterial growth. This can lead to bad breath as well as an alteration in taste sensation due to a lack of protective enzymes found in saliva. 

Saliva also helps coat teeth with minerals and salts which protect them from bacteria. When you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria can accumulate on your teeth, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, periodontal disease and bad breath. Understanding the science behind a dry mouth is key for treating it effectively so that you can enjoy fresh breath once again!

Common causes of dry mouth and how to treat it

Dry mouth is a common condition which can be caused by a variety of factors and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. Here are some of the most common causes of dry mouth, as well as steps you can take to manage it:


Certain medications that treat conditions like depression and high blood pressure can reduce saliva production. Talk to your doctor about adjusting dosages or switching medications if you suspect this is the cause of your dry mouth.


Not drinking enough water throughout the day can cause your salivary glands to produce less fluid than usual, resulting in a dry mouth. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water each day to stay hydrated.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can lead to a decrease in saliva production, so if you think this might be an issue for you, seek help from a medical professional immediately.

These are just some of the common causes of dry mouth; however, there may be other underlying medical conditions that need attention as well. If home remedies or lifestyle changes do not provide relief, it’s important to seek advice from your dentist in order to get the right diagnosis and treatment plan for your particular situation.

Foods that can cause dry mouth

Some foods can actually make dry mouth worse due to their drying effects, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re consuming. Here are some foods that can cause dry mouth:

  • Caffeine including coffee, tea and energy drinks 
  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Highly processed foods
  • Spicy foods 

Eating healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables can help reduce symptoms of dry mouth and keep your breath smelling fresh.

Lifestyle habits that can lead to a dry mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by lifestyle habits, such as smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Other habits and activities that can contribute to dry mouth include:

Breath Holding

Holding your breath for an extended period of time can lead to a dry mouth due to decreased oxygen levels in the body.


Stressful situations can cause the body to produce less saliva, leading to a dry mouth.


Prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can decrease saliva production, resulting in a dry mouth.

Allergies/Sinus Infections

Allergies and sinus infections can also cause a decrease in saliva production as they irritate the mucous membranes in the nose and throat area.

It’s important to be aware of these common causes of dry mouth so you can take action if needed and prevent uncomfortable symptoms from occurring.

The consequences of having a dry mouth for long periods

Having a dry mouth for an extended time period can lead to an array of discomfort and health issues. Saliva plays a crucial role in keeping the mouth healthy and hygienic. 

Consequences of having a dry mouth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Difficulty speaking and eating 

Additionally, a dry mouth can lead to oral thrush or mouth sores, which can worsen and cause infections if not treated. It is essential to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks, maintain good oral hygiene, and seek medical advice if experiencing chronic dry mouth to avoid these consequences.

Tips on how to keep your breath fresh despite a dry mouth

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps encourage saliva production, which helps reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and keep bad breath away.

Chew Sugarless Gum 

Chewing sugar free gum can help stimulate saliva production and rinse away bacteria, helping you to maintain fresh breath longer.

Use a Mouthwash

Using an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains natural ingredients such as aloe vera or mint can also help freshen your breath in the short term.

Avoid Trigger Foods

Foods like onions, garlic and spicy dishes contain strong odors that linger in the mouth and make it difficult to keep your breath fresh for long periods of time.

Steps to treating bad breath caused by dry mouth

Treating bad breath caused by dry mouth can be done at home or with the help of a healthcare professional. Here are some steps to take to help treat and reduce bad breath:

Increase Saliva Production

Increasing your water intake and chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production, keeping your mouth moist and balancing bacteria levels in the mouth.

Brush and Floss Twice Daily

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing helps remove food particles that build up in the mouth, reducing the amount of bacteria present that cause bad breath.

Clean Your Tongue

Using a tongue scraper or brush to thoroughly clean your tongue will help reduce bad breath.

Invest in a Dry Mouth Rinse

Using a specially formulated rinse designed for people with dry mouths can help reduce bacteria levels even further and keep your breath fresh for longer periods of time.

Book an appointment with Point Dental

By booking an appointment with Point Dental today, you can get the right diagnosis and discover the underlying cause of your bad breath. Our team of experienced professionals offer personalised treatment plans to help you maintain good oral hygiene and improve your overall dental health. 

Don’t let bad breath hold you back from enjoying your daily interactions, book your appointment with Point Dental now.