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
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
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 gumline.
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!
About the Author
Wayne Myles earned his doctorate from Georgetown Dental School, graduating
in 1990. He then went on to complete post-graduate training at the Las Vegas Institute
of Advanced Dental Studies that focused on full-mouth reconstruction and
complex smile makeovers. He has been providing quality dental care to the
Reston, VA community since 1997. For more tips on how to freshen your breath
and keep your mouth clean, click here to visit Dr. Myles’