Can You Prevent Morning Breath?

Few things are common across all of humanity. We all need to eat and sleep. We need to love and be loved. And we all have horrible breath in the morning.

It cuts across professions, economic status, religion, or any other kind of human classification. Making it more difficult? One of the worst parts of bad breath is we generally can't smell our own, meaning that it's possible for you to think your breath is atrocious while no one else does. Likewise, it's possible that you think your breath is fine but everyone around you cringes when you say hello. Talk about a recipe for anxiety (via Healthline).

Fortunately, there are a number of things we can do to mitigate our stinky morning breath. But before we delve into how to treat our rank mouth odors, we need to understand what's going on inside of our mouths that's causing it.

Why do we have bad breath in the morning?

Unfortunately, bad breath (halitosis) has many different causes. Fortunately, most of those causes originate in the mouth, making treatment more straightforward. Generally speaking, morning breath comes down to bacteria in the mouth.

If you're the type of person who regularly brushes and flosses, you can probably blame dry mouth for your early morning halitosis. One of the functions of saliva is to clean up oral bacteria. When we sleep, our mouth produces significantly less saliva, allowing for the buildup of the bacterial offenders.

On the other hand, if you're not brushing and flossing effectively, your bacteria problems are likely compounded. A proper oral hygiene regimen will rid the mouth of errant food particles. If those particles are allowed to remain in the mouth, the aforementioned bacteria will break them down, adding to the rich bouquet of smells your mouth produces (from MedicalNewsToday).

Independent of oral hygiene, certain things we put in our mouths can also contribute to how our breath smells. Foods like garlic and onions eaten before we go to bed are almost guaranteed to linger into the morning. Tobacco smoke can also exacerbate the drying that leads to bacterial buildup (via another post at Healthline).

What can we do about it?

Two words: oral hygiene. The best first defense against funky morning breath is brushing your teeth before bed and not having anything to eat or drink (except water) afterwards. Floss your teeth to dislodge those hard-to-reach food particles hiding between your canines. Scrape your tongue to remove anything missed with flossing and brushing. Finish it off with an antiseptic mouthwash and you've done all you can to clean out your mouth (via Everyday Health).

What you do during the day can also help to prevent waking up with swamp breath in the morning. Drink lots of water. Remember, mouth dryness at night is the primary driver of morning breath, so keeping yourself hydrated will mitigate that halitosis.

Don't eat or drink anything with strong flavors late at night. Foods like garlic and onions owe their strong smells to sulfur compounds which can linger in the mouth. Plus, when we digest them, some of their byproducts are absorbed and exhaled by the lungs, making the odor problem worse, according to Healthline.

And quit smoking. Not only will it remove the tobacco stink from your breath, your mouth will have more saliva to clean out bacteria, and you'll live longer to appreciate your clean, fresh breath.