Ever woken up from a cosy afternoon nap only to find that the horrid smell on your pillow is actually coming for your mouth? Congratulations, you have now experienced the phenomenon not-so-fondly referred to as, “nap breath”.
Myth Busting: Is Nap Breath A Thing?
What is “Nap Breath”?
By no means a scientific term, “nap breath” refers to the particularly foul-smelling breath and sour taste many people experience after waking up from a nap. Think: “morning breath,” but for naps.
Not all nap breath is created equal. Some people report having bad breath only after waking up from a nap. Others say that their nap breath is similar to their morning breath after a full night’s sleep. And, a lucky few don’t experience nap breath at all. But watch out, you never know when it will sneak up on you.
Why Does it Happen?
Similar to morning breath, bad breath after napping can stem from several things like…
- Food. Leftover food particles in your mouth produce bacteria over time that can start to stink. Also, particularly smelly foods like garlic and onions linger much longer in your body.
- Improper Oral Care. Not abiding by a proper brushing and flossing routine is the most common reason for all bad breath.
- Tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco products reduces salivary flow and can cause dry mouth, leaving your breath smelling stale and ashy.
- Dry Mouth. Saliva breaks down bacteria and washes away the remaining particles. Dry mouth decreases saliva production and gives bacteria more opportunity to spread throughout your mouth.
How Can I Prevent It?
Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success and kick nap breath to the curb.
- Brush. Probably the easiest way to ensure you won’t wake up with nap breath is by brushing before taking a nap. You’ll get rid of any lingering food particles and reduce the risk of producing smelly bacteria.
- Hydrate. Sip on water throughout the day to rinse out food particles and stimulate saliva production.
- Chew. Chew sugar-free gum after waking up from your midday nap to stimulate saliva flow and leave your mouth with a minty fresh scent.
- Eat Smart. Avoid foods like garlic and onions which linger in your system much longer than they do on your taste buds.
- Brush, Floss & Clean. As always, follow a proper oral care routine as recommended by your dentist (i.e. brushing, flossing, and cleaning your tongue).
Take back your right to nap and kiss nap breath goodbye!
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.