Why Does My Breath Smell In The Morning?​​​​​​​

Why Does My Breath Smell In The Morning?​​​​​​​

Date Published:

Do you wake up in the morning with a grim taste in your mouth and breath that could turn a pathologist’s stomach? If so, you aren’t alone. Bad breath in the morning, also sometimes simply called ‘morning breath’ is an embarrassing occurrence, particularly if you share your bed with someone else. So, why exactly does our breath become so foul overnight and what can we do to minimize episodes of morning breath? Read on to find out everything that you need to know about why your breath smells in the morning.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath, which is characterized by an unpleasant smell emanating from the mouth, has primarily been linked to poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are all essential components for a healthy mouth and neutral-smelling breath. However, when bacteria are allowed to breed, such as when they aren’t cleared away properly by brushing and flossing, they release an unpleasant odor that is expelled via your breath. For this reason, patients that have periodontal disease or dental problems such as untreated decay or infections are more likely to experience bad breath.

Why is my breath particularly smelly in the morning?

Even people who don’t experience bad breath during the day can wake up with a disgusting smell escaping from their mouths. There is a number of reasons for this:


Bacteria have time to accumulate overnight

Brushing your teeth before bed is extremely important. Removing as much food debris and as many bacteria as possible is essential if you are to prevent them from having plenty of time to interact and cause damage to your teeth. While we sleep, we aren’t drinking to wash away particles of food or bad bacteria, giving them the opportunity to multiply and to create plaque and plaque acids. The increased number of bacteria means greater noxious emissions, giving you unpleasant breath.


Saliva production slows while we sleep

A decrease in the amount of saliva we naturally produce while we sleep is another contributing factor to the development of bad breath. When we are sleeping, our salivary glands are not as active as they are during the day so that we don’t have to continually swallow – something which has the potential to wake us up. Unfortunately, since saliva is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay, this decreased production means that there is less fluid to neutralize plaque acids and wash away bacteria and food particles – enabling bacteria to thrive.


Eating strongly-flavored foods before bed

Even if you brush your teeth before bed, if you have eaten something which has a particularly strong flavor, you could find that you can still smell it on your breath in the morning. Common culprits for this include garlic and raw onion.


Gastrointestinal Reflux or GERD

Patients who have been diagnosed with GERD may experience waves of stomach acid washing back up into their esophagus when they sleep. Stomach acid contains lots of bacteria and has an unpleasant odor in its own right.

What can I do to improve the way that my breath smells in the morning?

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to help improve the way that your breath might smell in the morning. These include:

- Brushing your teeth as thoroughly as possible before you go to bed. This means using a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. Pay particular attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums as this is where the plaque is most likely to form.

- Remember to floss. While brushing will remove the vast majority of food particles and bacteria, there are teeny, tiny crevices between teeth where even the most expensive and effective toothbrush may not reach. Flossing, using conventional floss, a water flosser or interdental brushes, will get into these areas and ensure that they are as clean and bacteria-free as possible.

- Lay off the strong-smelling foods before bed. Try and ensure that your last meal of the day is fairly neutral in flavor to minimize the effect it could have on your breath.

- Drink water before bed. It may not be your beverage of choice, but water is the healthiest thing that we can drink and it will help to wash away any stubborn bacteria or food particles that are still clinging on. If you wake through the night, a few sips from a glass of water by your bed will help prevent your mouth from drying out too.

If you are experiencing embarrassingly bad breath in the morning and would like the advice and support of an experienced dental team, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our discreet staff is waiting to help you.