Is There a Way to Prevent Morning Breath?

No one likes waking up with morning breath. But there are ways to keep your morning breath at bay—starting with good oral hygiene.

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What a glorious feeling it is to wake up after a great night’s sleep on a beautiful morning: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, your muscles are invigorated, you open your mouth to a barbaric yawp to start the day—and your dreams turn into a nightmare. What is that foul stench escaping from your mouth? Did something curl up in there and die overnight?

Hopefully not. More likely, bacteria in your mouth took advantage of nocturnal conditions and proliferated, resulting in a less-than-pleasant aroma. When we’re asleep we produce less saliva, which means we’re running low on a fluid that’s chock-full of good bacteria—bacteria designed to fight the odor-causing germs that feed on the sugars left over from the food and drink we consume.

It’s only natural that people experience a varying degree of morning breath, but the situation is much worse if you have sub-par oral hygiene practices. Keeping your teeth, gums and tongue clean will go a long way in the fight against an offensive rise-and-shine greeting.

Start by making sure you’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. It may help to scrape or brush the tongue as well,” says  Dr. Genaro Romo, an ADA spokesperson. “ Keep in mind that bad breath in the morning is common, but should not be overlooked.”

A mildly funky smell is par for the course, but if your morning breath persists even after you brush, floss, and scrape your tongue, maybe ignore the chirping birds for once and start your day by making an appointment to see a dentist.