Your daily routine starts the same way each day: turn off the alarm (or snooze for 10 more minutes), take a deep stretch and begin compiling a mental to-do list. All the while, you may be aware of that foul taste in your mouth: morning breath. There's no need to hang your head in embarrassment as everyone has probably dealt with it. Luckily, if you know the causes and how to fix them, you'll be well on your way to a more pleasant morning!
Bad Breath & Morning Breath Causes
According to the American Dental Association, bad breath (also known as halitosis) usually emanates from the mouth as a result of inadequate oral hygiene. The mouth is a haven for food particles to gather. They can collect between teeth, along gum surfaces and on the tongue's surface. Natural bacteria found in the mouth then break down those particles resulting in the release of chemicals. Those chemicals have a pungent odor.
In order to solve a problem, start by learning its origin. Morning breath can stem from multiple causes, as noted by the Mayo Clinic.
- Food. In addition to leftover food particles in the mouth, certain types of food can cause smelly breath. Garlic, onions and spices enter the bloodstream once they're digested. They're then carried to your lungs where they have an adverse effect on breath, especially if you eat foods late at night before going to sleep.
- Dry mouth. Saliva is your friend when it comes to cleansing the mouth. Saliva breaks down the bacteria and washes away those remaining particles. Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth decreases saliva production. Production naturally decreases overnight as you sleep, hence, that's why so many people wake up with bad breath.
- Neglecting oral care. In addition to removing those pesky food particles with proper brushing and flossing, disregarding good oral care can lead to periodontal disease.
- Tobacco. There's a reason smokers have lousy breath. They're also more prone to gum disease because of smoking.
- Medications. Certain medications result in dry mouth. Others are broken down by the body and release foul chemicals on your breath.
With a little ingenuity and diligence, morning breath is easily conquered. Some tips provide quick relief while some are preventative.
- Brush. Once you're up, make brushing the first thing you do. Your toothbrush will eliminate any left-behind particles contributing to bad breath.
- Rinse. If you prefer to wait until after breakfast to brush, give your mouth a quick rinse. Not only will it freshen up your mouth, but it fights plaque that targets teeth and gums.
- Start chewing. Keep a pack of sugar-free, mint-flavored gum in your nightstand and take a quick chew. Chewing gum will generate that saliva flow and the mint will leave a pleasant aftertaste.
- Go green. Keep your refrigerator stocked with fresh parsley. A quick chew on just a small piece does wonders on smelly breath.
- Break bad habits. One way to avoid morning breath altogether is to avoid things that cause it. That means watching what you eat at night, kicking the tobacco habit and keeping your body well-hydrated. If you wake up thirsty at night, keep a glass of water next to your bed so you can take small swigs.
No matter what time of day, bad breath is bad news for your mouth. One constant in the fight against it is developing good oral care habits. That means brushing at least twice a day and following up with dental floss. And remember to book those regular dental checkups too. Beating bad breath is enough to make anyone wake up smiling.