How to Get Rid of Bad Morning Breath

Morning breath

Your daily routine starts pretty the same way: turn off the alarm (or snooze for ten minutes), take a deep stretch while compiling a mental to-do list, and get up from your bed. All the while, you might be aware of the foul smell and taste coming from your mouth-morning breath.

If you`re with a partner, you might quickly cover your mouth with your hand so that they don`t get a whiff of your rotten odor.

While waking up with a questionable breath is unpleasant, and is probably not the best way you may want to greet your partner, there`s no need to hang your head in embarrassment as nearly everybody deals with the issue. According to Dr. Anthony Komaroff, of Harvard Medical School ( morning breath is a surprisingly common health issue that you should not be ashamed of. Also, Sally J Cram, DDS, a certified periodontitis in Washington D.C. and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association asserts that everyone has a morning breath to some extent.

What is morning breath?

Also known as dragon breath, morning breath is the foul smell that emanates from our mouths once we step out from our beds. Over the years, bad breath has been linked with poor dental hygiene. However, according to the Journal of Periodontology online (, this is not necessarily the case, especially with morning breath.

Morning breath comes with the sun; even individuals with faultless breath and those with engage in good dental practices may still find themselves waking up to a dry mouth, furry tongue, and an unpleasant odor. Mouth odor is a result of natural processes that take place while sleeping. And you can get rid of it naturally.

While waking up to a minty morning breath is unrealistic, you can help control the factors, which lead to the morning odor. If you`re aware of the causes leading to your bad breath, you’ll be well on your way to a more pleasant morning. Fetid breath never brings joy to anyone. And never does white tongue.

Causes of morning breath

Dry mouth

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth is the major culprit of your morning breath. Dr. Hugh Flax, a cosmetic dentist and past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in Atlanta ( asserts that when we sleep, saliva production goes down leading to a dry mouth. As we sleep, our salivary glands slow down because our brains know we`re not eating. In fact, for most seniors, the salivary glands shut down nearly completely.

Saliva is critical for sweeping away food particles that would otherwise linger in the mouth and collect bacteria. With decreased saliva in our mouth, it allows bacteria to grow and produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which lead to the bad odor. The bacteria feed on the food particles lodged in your mouth and gums to produce these VSCs.

Also, saliva itself is nature`s way of protecting us from bad breath. Saliva is rich in oxygen, which happens to be the natural enemy of anaerobic, bad breath bacteria.

Sleep position

Yes, the way you sleep can also affect the intensity and frequency of morning breath. Saliva slowdown or shutdown, combined with snoring or breathing through your mouth while sleeping can increase the likelihood of bad breath.

If you`re a snorer or mouth breather, the constant flow of air over your mouth palate can result in a dry tongue, mouth, and throat. When this happens, your mouth creates a conducive breeding environment of anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria, which causes the morning breath and taste disorders. And without enough saliva to protect you, bad-breath bacteria thrives throughout the night, and you reduce your mouth`s ability to fight the bacteria.

Other Causes of Bad Breath in the Morning


Some medications can lead to a dry mouth overnight, worsening your morning breath. This is why many seniors on medications frequently wake up to an unpleasant breath.



Most smokers may find having bad morning breath. Apart from drying your saliva, smoking before or during sleep raises the mouth temperature, thus creating an optimum ground for the bad breath-causing bacteria to thrive.

Allergies and infections

Infection in the respiratory canal can also result in morning breath. For example, if you`ve mucus dripping at the back of your throat, it can become a source of food for the bacteria. Also, If your postnasal tract becomes infected; it can put more odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Preventing morning breath

Even though there`s is no outright and foolproof method to prevent morning breath, there`re a few steps that you can take to reduce its effect. Some of the remedies include;

Proper dental hygiene

Brushing with best toothpastes, flossing and cleaning your mouth before sleeping can help in reducing the morning breath. When you clean your mouth before you sleep eliminates the food particles and the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Adjust your sleeping habits

Snoring in your mouth during sleep can increase the likelihood of morning breath. To avoid snoring or mouth-breathing, adopt a side sleeping posture rather than sleeping on your back.

Take a glass of water

Glass of water

Dehydration is a major cause of morning breath. Therefore, ensure you drink plenty of water before going to bed to ensure you`re hydrated. Also, you can keep a glass of water by your bedside, this way, when you stir you can help to lubricate your mouth by taking a few sips of water.

Choice of diet

Your diet plays an essential role in your morning breath. For instance, both coffee and alcohol not only have a dehydrating effect, but also leave a pungent smell that is hard to clear, and you should, therefore, avoid such fluid when going to bed.

Other foods to avoid are sugary foods, which leave traces of sugar in your mouth. These traces of sugar act as food for bacteria and can result in other health conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal infections.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, and celery is recommended before going to bed as it helps in clearing your mouth of debris and any food particles lingering in your mouth.

Chew sugarless gum

Gums will trigger the release of saliva from the salivary gland, thus lubricating your mouth. However, ensure that you choose the sugarless gum versions .i.e. look for the 100% xylitol-sweetened. However, if you just had your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t use this method.

Seek medical attention

If you practice good oral health and are taking steps to prevent a dry mouth during sleep, it`s time you visited your dentist. Some of the morning breath conditions may signify larger and complicated issues such as heart disease or stroke. That’s the most effective way of combatting bad breath.

It should be clear by now that while long-term bad breath which lasts throughout the day may be a cause of concern, morning breath is quite a normal part of every day for millions of people.

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