Morning breath - that unpleasant odour in your mouth first thing in the morning - isn’t the most welcome way to wake up. However, the good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to avoid this unwanted early visitor.
Read on to discover the best way to prevent morning breath, as well as our tips on freshening your mouth if you’ve woken up to a case of bad breath.
What is morning breath?
Morning breath is a term used to describe bad breath that occurs after sleeping, when you first wake up. While you’re asleep, bacteria can build up as food particles on your teeth, tongue and gums break down, leaving unpleasant-smelling chemicals in your mouth.
What causes morning breath?
There are a number of factors which may contribute to morning breath. These include:
Strong-smelling foods: If you were eating pungent foods such as garlic, onions and spices the night before, they could be behind your bad breath in the morning. As the chemicals in these foods enter your bloodstream and are then carried to your lungs, you can end up breathing out their odours for some time after - even into the next morning.
Dry mouth: During the day, saliva helps to remove bacteria in the mouth which can lead to bad breath. However, while you’re sleeping, saliva production decreases and can result in morning breath when you wake. Dry mouth can also be caused by certain medications and can be exacerbated by breathing through your mouth or snoring overnight.
Poor oral hygiene: Practicing good oral care doesn’t just reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease - it’s also essential for keeping your breath fresh. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once can remove food debris which lead to bad breath-causing bacteria.
Smoking: Tobacco is a major culprit for causing bad breath, including morning breath. What’s more, smoking also increases your risk of developing gum disease, as well as other more serious oral health problems such as mouth cancer.
Medications: Certain medications can lead to dry mouth, which can result in increased bacteria and bad-smelling breath in the mornings. If you’re concerned about the effects of your medication on your mouth, speak to your doctor.
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Most commonly, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, (or GORD) can also cause bad breath, and requires investigation from your GP.
What can I do to prevent morning breath?
Stay hydrated: Keeping your mouth hydrated by drinking enough water will help to maintain adequate saliva levels, which are essential for washing away bacteria that leads to bad breath. Drink plenty of water during the day and keep a glass or bottle by the bed in case you wake up thirsty.
Watch what you eat before bed: As strong-smelling foods can be behind bad morning breath, it’s a good idea to avoid eating pungent foods such as garlic, onions and smelly fish late at night.
Quit the cigarettes: Giving up smoking is a surefire way to improve your morning breath, as well as your overall health. For advice on the best way to quit, talk to your doctor.
Tips for addressing morning breath
If you’ve woken up with a dreaded case of morning breath, don’t panic! Here are some quick bad-breath-busting tips to get your mouth back to freshness:
Brush your teeth: It may sound obvious, but the fastest way to address morning breath is to reach for your toothbrush in order to rid your mouth of bacteria-causing debris that’s built up overnight.
Rinse with mouthwash: While mouthwash alone can’t cure persistent bad breath, a quick rinse with a mouthwash product of your choice can leave you with fresher breath and a clean-feeling mouth.
Scrape your tongue: Regularly brushing your tongue can help to improve your breath by removing bacteria. You can use a tongue scraper, a toothbrush with a built-in scraper, or even just the bristles of your regular toothbrush.
Go for gum: Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can help to boost saliva production, which will clear away bacteria and leave your mouth feeling fresher.
Reach for the mints: Popping a breath mint can provide a quick burst of freshness to help clear your morning breath. Choose sugar-free mints for a tooth-friendly option.
If you suffer from persistent bad breath (halitosis), it’s important to talk to your National Dental Care Group practitioner, as this may be a sign of an underlying oral health condition. To make an appointment, Book Online today.