You wake up in the morning and feel like greeting your bed partner with a kiss. As soon as they catch a whiff of your breath, however, they turn away. Does this sound familiar? If so, you have experienced the unfortunate circumstance known as morning breath. Why do we get morning breath? Read on as a dentist explains the causes of this phenomenon and how to prevent it.
Causes of Morning Breath
To some degree, everyone has morning breath, and here’s why: when you sleep, your mouth dries out. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, bacteria that produce odors thrive. If you snore or breathe through your mouth during the night, you’re even more likely to have bad breath upon waking up, because bacteria are more likely to proliferate.
Certain medications may cause your mouth to dry out even more during the night, worsening your morning breath. That’s why older people, who often take many medications, frequently report worse breath when they wake up than younger people.
Smokers might also find themselves with terrible morning breath. Not only does smoking deplete your supply of saliva, but it raises the temperature of your mouth, making it a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. This is just one of many reasons to add “quit smoking” to your to-do list.
How to Treat Bad Breath
The good news is that if you’re one of the 65% of Americans who suffer from bad breath, it’s entirely treatable. Simply follow these steps:
Bacteria that cause odors love to accumulate on your teeth and tongue, so make sure to brush your pearly whites before bed. Don’t eat or drink anything afterwards. If you do, it will attract the very bacteria you’re trying to avoid.
Also, brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth. About 85% of bad breath comes from the tongue, because many people don’t clean it. If you clean your tongue before bed, more often than not, you’ll find that your breath is a little fresher in the morning.
Brushing alone will not remove all the bacteria from your mouth. In fact, brushing only cleans three of the five surfaces of your teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. It will clean out bacteria that have built up between your teeth and along your gum line.
Buy some mouthwash that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval and rinse before or after brushing and flossing, depending on what the instructions say. Also, follow the instructions when it comes to how long you should rinse. If the label says rinse for 30 seconds and you only do it for 15, you’re not reaping all the breath-freshening benefits.
If you implement these tips into your daily life, you’re much less likely to have you partner turn away from you in the morning. Furthermore, your breath will be fresher and your mouth healthier!