Nobody likes morning breath. Unfortunately, everyone gets it, thanks to the fact that, while you’re off in dreamland, your saliva production decreases and your mouth gets dry, allowing bacteria to multiply. But there’s hope! To help prevent that offensive odor, try out the simple strategies below.
What’s Good for Your Teeth Is Also Good for Your Breath
Are you the type of person who doesn’t bother brushing, flossing, and rinsing before bed? Then you might want to change your ways, as failing to clean your mouth at night can lead to really stinky breath in the morning. Basically, all of the food particles that are left in your mouth overnight will give bacteria even more to feast on. Yuck!
This isn’t the time to be lazy or take shortcuts, so follow these three steps:
- Start by brushing for a full two minutes, and brush your tongue as well to help ensure fresher breath come the morning.
- Next up, grab some floss so that you can remove any remaining particles that your toothbrush left behind in between your chompers.
- Finally, use some mouthwash to kill additional germs and freshen your breath. Consider one that doesn’t include alcohol, which can dry the mouth. Follow the directions on the label, though, to reap the most benefits. So, if the mouthwash says rinse for 20 seconds, do it for that length of time to ensure you kill enough nasty bacteria.
Pro tip: When you’re all done with your nighttime mouth cleaning routine, make it a point to avoid eating any food before bed. If you need something to drink, stick with water, which provides the added benefit of hydrating your mouth. Otherwise, you’ll undo all of the great work you just did.
Watch What You Eat and Drink in the Evening
Speaking of eating before bed, another reason why your breath smells terrible in the morning might be because of what you ate. Feasting on a meal that contains smelly foods, like onions and garlic, could increase the odds of morning breath, despite your best brushing efforts.
Also, brushing your teeth with toothpaste that contains baking soda, or rinsing your mouth with a basic at-home mix of baking soda and water, might be beneficial when it comes to freshening your breath before you hit the sack. Why, you ask? Put simply, bacteria tend to prefer acidic environments, and baking soda can help reduce the acidity in your mouth.
Not Enough? Try to Pinpoint the Underlying Cause for Morning Breath
If you’ve tried the tips above and you’re still finding yourself waking up with funky breath, it’s time to start digging a little deeper to find the cause.
Here are a few of the reasons why you might find it hard to get rid of morning breath:
- Remember we mentioned that your morning halitosis could be the result of your mouth being drier while you sleep? Well, if you tend to breathe through the mouth or you snore, your mouth will likely dry out even more. The effect will be really bad breath upon waking. Consider talking to your doctor if you have trouble breathing through your nose or you snore a lot.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often referred to simply as acid reflux, is another culprit to think about. All of that stomach acid making its way up your esophagus while you’re sleeping can cause your breath to smell horribly by the time the sun rises. Your doctor might be able to help you get relief from your symptoms with the right tips and medications.
- If you have periodontal disease (a.k.a. gum disease), your morning breath might become worse, and that halitosis could persist throughout the day. Yikes! Just another reason to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
- Allergies that result in post-nasal drip and dry mouth can also cause your breath to smell less than stellar. And certain medications may even contribute to bad breath if they cause dry mouth as a side effect. In either case, it’s best to talk to your doctor about what you can do.
- Do you smoke? Here’s yet another reason to quit: smoking dries the mouth and raises its temperature, making it a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and multiply. Pretty gross, right?
Still Stumped? Book an Appointment with Your Dentist!
When all else fails, it’s time to see your dentist about morning breath. He or she can figure out what the cause of your halitosis is, as well as provide expert tips, treatments, and product recommendations that can help you keep your breath fresh, even while you sleep.