Halitosis (Morning Breath)

morning breath

You brush your teeth for the full two minutes before bed. You insert some plastic tape within your teeth at least once per day. You swish mouthwash until it makes your mouth burn. In other words, you do everything right in the oral hygiene department. So, why is it when you wake up that you have such offensive morning breath?

The Truth About Morning Breath

Morning breath, called halitosis by your doctor, is caused by bacteria in your mouth, that simply love all things wet and warm. Overnight, when your mouth is inactive, there is less oxygen circulating in your mouth. As a result, the bacteria multiplies and becomes the perfect environment for a stinky aroma.

According to Wexner Medical Center, a decrease in saliva, which happens to many people when they sleep, makes it more difficult for your mouth to cleanse itself. As the saliva production slows down at night, so does the diluting of bacteria and transfer to your gut. The result is a stench that even your dog finds offensive.

Another thing you might not be aware of is that bad breath can be of a number of types, says NYC Cosmetic Dentist, Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S., including:

  • mouth breath
  • tonsil breath
  • lung breath
  • stomach breath
  • sinus breath
  • exhaustion breath

brushing teeth

Tips for Sweet-Smelling Morning Breath

It really is no surprise that store shelves are jam-packed with mints, gum, fresh-mint toothpastes, and powerful mouthwashes designed to fight halitosis. But aside from popping a Tic Tac in your mouth as soon as your alarm clock goes off, what are some things you can do to lesson the wrath of morning stench?

1) Practice perfect oral hygiene. The first defense against halitosis is listen to the sound advice of your dentist. Brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss daily. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth — ever. Make it one of your bedtime rituals. Food left in your mouth while you sleep is a breeding ground for bacteria. In addition, don’t forget to brush your tongue, or if your tongue is severely coated, use a tongue scraper, advises the Mayo Clinic. Lastly, change your toothbrush regularly — at least every three months, says the American Dental Association.

2) Watch your culinary choices. We all know that foods like garlic and onions lead to bad breath, but these types of foods are actually absorbed into your bloodstream, says celebrity nutritionist Joy Bauer. The result: their odor is expelled in the air you exhale. Until these types of foods are completely eliminated by your body, they have the potential to be emitted in your breath. Sugary foods can also contribute to bad breath.

3) Get a dental checkup. If you have periodontal disease, it may be the reason for your not-so-sweet-smelling morning breath. In fact, one of the classic symptoms of periodontal disease is foul odor. Extensive plaque buildup can also be a source of halitosis, so be sure to have your teeth cleaned regularly.

4) Ditch tobacco. Whether you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, or puff a cigar, tobacco products can cause bad breath.

The good news about halitosis is that it is not only a treatable condition, but preventable as well. Here’s another piece of good news: most people are overly paranoid about their breath and believe it smells worse than it actually does. On the other hand, there are those that aren’t even aware of their stinky breath. Which category do you fall into?

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