No matter how well you brush and floss before bed, that dreaded morning breath always seems to return in the morning. Why is it that your breath smells so much worse in the morning, especially when you haven’t been eating or drinking for hours? The straightforward answer is this: When you sleep, your normal flow of saliva decreases so your mouth tends to dry out. When your mouth dries out, odor-producing bacteria will multiply. For those who are mouth-breathers or snore during the night, you are even more likely to wake up with foul breath.
Can You Do Anything to Help?
Morning breath is almost impossible to eliminate completely. However, you can take steps to reduce its severity, including the following:
- Kick your smoking habit. Smoking is another culprit for decreasing your saliva flow. It also raises your mouth temperature, which invites more bacteria growth. If you tend to light a cigarette before bed, you are setting the stage for major morning breath.
- Brush well. When engaging in your nightly brushing routine, watch the clock. You should be brushing for the recommended 2 minutes.
- Don’t forget your tongue. When brushing, don’t forget to brush all surfaces of your tongue. As much as 85% of bad breath comes from the tongue.
- No snacking after brushing. Eliminate food and drink after you brush for bed. Leaving food debris and acids on your teeth through the night will not only worsen your morning breath, but it can lead to decay and gum disease.
- Rule out other causes. Bad breath can also be caused by certain medications that dry out your mouth as well as allergies (post-nasal drip).
- Floss! Brushing alone cannot remove all of the food debris that gets stuck between your teeth and gums. Consider flossing just as important as brushing when it comes to your smile and your breath.
Following the above steps will certainly not guarantee that you’ll have fresh breath when your alarm clock goes off. However, you can rest at ease knowing you’ve done everything you can to combat the problem, and your smile will definitely reap the benefits.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,