After a peaceful slumber, you wake up at the sound of your alarm. Irritated, you hit the snooze button and decided to take a longer sleep. The sun isn’t up yet in the first place, and work does not start until 8 in the morning. You yawn.
But, a whiff of foul odor wakes you up from your dreamy trance. You sniff again, wondering where the stinking smell is from, and then it hits you. The smell is from you – your mouth, to be exact.
And it is not something to get embarrassed about because at least 99 percent of people experience that foul odor in the morning, known as morning breath, according to Bad Breath Institute. On the one hand, up to 80 million people suffer from an ever-present bad breath, while millions of Americans have bad breath in limited situations like morning or after eating food with pungent smell like garlic.
What is Morning Breath?
Morning breath is a form of halitosis or bad breath which typically starts in the mouth and as a result of poor oral hygiene, oral sources like cavities, diseases, and dry mouth.
Having poor oral hygiene leads to the build up of plaque, the bacterial film that naturally occurs in the mouth if not regularly removed. Then, the bacteria in the plaque give off an odor that affects the breath. Oral-related problems like periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other mouth infections may also contribute to the occurrence of bad breath.
Additionally, infections in the throat, nose, or lungs, health problems such as diabetes, chronic bronchitis, liver disease, disturbances in the digestive system, postnatal drip or chronic sinusitis also produce bad breath as a byproduct.
Saliva helps sweep away food particles from the mouth. A lack of saliva increases the risk of dry mouth which can cause bad breath, especially in the morning. Saliva production goes down during sleep, leading to foul odor emitting from the mouth when we wake up.
A dry mouth permits the growth and production of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) like hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan. VSCs, which are produced when the naturally occuring bacteria in the mouth break down the food particles left on the tongue’s surface, along the gum tissue surrounding the teeth, and between the teeth, release a foul odor.
Sleeping habits also affect the frequency of occurrence and intensity of morning breath. Because saliva production naturally slows down when we sleep, sleeping with an open mouth can make the mouth drier, allowing breath-causing bacteria to flourish. In addition to an open mouth, snoring or breathing through the mouth at night also heightens the likelihood of halitosis.
How to Prevent Your Mornings from Smelling Bad?
To decrease the chances of suffering from morning breath, it is important to practice good oral hygiene by flossing correctly, developing the habit of brushing your teeth after every meal and before bed and cleaning your tongue at least once a day. Keeping yourself hydrated will also help in keeping your mouth less dry for the night. A glass of water before bed will clear your mouth of food particles that may have lingered.
Since snoring and an open mouth during sleep contribute to having a drier mouth, sleeping on your side, rather than your back is recommended to avoid snoring. Sleeping on your back will most likely lead to snoring.
A regular visit to the dentist is advised for teeth cleaning. Also, it is to keep tabs on your bad breath and to know possible remedies, if necessary.