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Morning Breath: Causes, Prevention and Cure

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We all know what morning breath is, but what causes it and can we prevent it? Is there a cure for morning breath? Not surprisingly, what you do before bedtime affects what you wake up with in the morning.

What Causes Morning Breath?

  • Food. Residual food in your mouth from improper oral hygiene causes bad breath. In addition, certain types of food, like garlic and onions, can cause smelly breath. These spices enter the bloodstream once digested and the chemicals are then carried to your lungs. You are exhaling those foul odors, especially if you eat foods late at night before going to sleep.
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth, known as xerostomia, can contribute to bad morning breath. During the day, saliva helps rid the mouth of bacteria. However, saliva production decreases while you’re asleep. Breathing through your mouth or snoring also increases dry mouth, contributing to the foul smell. Some conditions, such as Sjorgren’s Syndrome, and medications can also cause xerostomia.
  • 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.
  • Mouth Breathing. If you’re waking with an exceptionally dry mouth or tongue, or irritated throat, you’re probably mouth-breathing. Illnesses such as clogged sinuses and sleep disorders often contribute to mouth-breathing.
  • Tobacco. Stinky breath and stained teeth are notorious to smokers. Moreover, are also more prone to gum disease, another cause of bad breath.
  • Medications. Certain medications result in dry mouth which increases bacteria worsening morning breath conditions. Some medications that can xerostomia include antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and blood pressure medications.

How to you prevent morning breath?

  • Brush and floss: Brushing removes only 60 percent of food debris; flossing reaches the other 40 percent. Flossing before bed is exceptionally important, as sleep offers food the opportunity to fester for hours, without beverages and sufficient saliva to flush it away
  • Stay hydrated: Drink water before going to sleep at night, and keep a bottle on your nightstand in case you wake up thirsty. Drink water after brushing too!
  • Avoid pungent food: Avoid strong-smelling foods and drinks like garlic, onions, or coffee before bed.
  • Avoid tobacco: Quit tobacco use to improve your overall health as well as your oral health. Do it for yourself and for others around you.

Is there a cure for morning breath?

  • Brush: Not surprising, a dirty mouth causes bad breath. Residual food allows more bacteria to grow in your mouth. Eww.
  • Gargle: A vigorous rinse with mouthwash will give you a quick refresher.
  • Gum: Chewing gum gets your saliva flowing.
  • Greens: Fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro, help neutralize odors.
  • Water: If you wake in the night with a dry mouth, keep a glass of water by your bed. Drinking water in the morning is good for your breath and body.

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