bad-breathIt’s hard to avoid embarrassing breath odor when you wake up in the morning. The good news is that it’s not just you; morning breath happens to just about everyone out there. Maybe understanding why it occurs and learning some tips to combat it will help you at least cut down on the severity of your breath odor in the mornings.

What it is
The main reason your breath has a strong smell after a night of sleep is that your mouth becomes dry overnight. Odor-causing bacteria thrive in a mouth that lacks saliva, which normally decreases during sleep. Bacteria grow in your mouth while you sleep, and morning breath results.

Why it happens
There are a number of reasons that your breath is worse in the mornings than any other time of day:

  • Mouth breathing – your mouth becomes dry when your mouth is left open for extended time periods.
  • Snoring – your mouth is often ajar while snoring, allowing it to dry out.
  • Medications – certain drugs contribute to dry mouth, which gets even worse overnight. Senior adults are more likely to be on medications that commonly cause dry mouth, so this is especially a problem for that age group.
  • Smoking – saliva in your mouth dissipates when your mouth temperature is increased due to smoking.
  • Allergies – allergy sufferers tend to have mucous draining down their throats, creating a food source for bacteria.

What you can do about it
Although you probably can’t completely avoid morning breath, there are some ways to lessen it. Good oral hygiene makes a difference. This includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, and always right before bed. Make sure to brush all your teeth, gums, and tongue. Avoid eating or drinking anything after your final brushing of the day. Another important element of oral care is flossing daily to remove food particles between your teeth and under your gums. You may also consider rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouthwash to get rid of germs that cause breath odor.

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