What Causes Morning Breath?
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What Causes Morning Breath?

How many times have you avoided talking to your sleep partner first thing in the morning due to embarrassment from morning breath? “Morning breath” is the name we commonly give the bad breath that often occurs upon waking in the morning, and it is a pretty common occurrence. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, it is so common that over 80 million Americans experience this problem on a regular basis.

The medical term for bad breath — in the morning or otherwise — is halitosis. If you are experiencing halitosis or chronic bad breath, this article will provide you with ways to reduce or eliminate it so your mornings are happier, healthier, and stink-free.

What Causes Morning Breath?

In simplest terms, morning breath can be the result of a number of causes. Some of these are harmless, while others can be more concerning. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common reasons you may be experiencing morning breath:

1. Bacteria and Poor Oral Hygiene

The environment of your mouth is filled with bacteria that feed on food particles on your gums, teeth, and tongue that did not get swept away by your brushing and flossing program. As the bacteria break down these foods, they release sulfur compounds that are the source of the bad smell. Certain foods can contribute to this odor, including garlic, onions, and coffee.

Poor oral hygiene contributes to the proliferation of bacteria, which can then cause tooth decay or gum disease. Both of these issues can affect the smell of your breath — and not for the better.

2. Dry Mouth

If you are consistently experiencing morning breath, you may be having trouble with saliva production. A dry mouth is the perfect host for bacteria to build up rapidly. Healthy saliva production helps to keep these bacteria in check and reduces foul-smelling breath.

Breathing through the mouth at night can dry out tissues, along with specific medicines, alcohol, caffeine, and even certain diseases.

3. Gum Disease

Up to 80% of people with gum disease also have bad breath. And bad breath can lead to gum disease as the sulfur-producing bacteria migrate to gum tissues. At early stages, the bacteria’s impact on your gums may be reversible, but by the time the disease has progressed to periodontitis, the breakdown of your gum tissues may not be reversible.

If you have chronic bad breath that nothing seems to help, please see your dentist right away to be evaluated for gingivitis or periodontitis.

4. Underlying Medical Issues

Some chronic conditions can cause a strong, unpleasant odor on your breath. These can range from mild issues such as sinusitis, bronchitis, or tonsillitis to more serious diseases, such as diabetes, liver, or kidney disease.

5. Smoking

Smoking lowers the production of saliva, which we already discussed earlier. But it also increases those sulfur compounds in your mouth and lungs, making you more susceptible to morning breath — and halitosis at any time of day.

6. Low-Carb Diets

Low carb diets like the popular “keto diet” restrict carbohydrates to force your body to use fat for energy. These fatty acids are converted into ketones that are released through urine — and exhalation. Typically called “keto breath,” the halitosis that accompanies a low-carb diet is usually temporary.

What Can You Do to Stop Morning Breath?

If you are one of the many people that suffer from morning breath, listen up. Unless your halitosis is caused by medication or disease, there are some simple things you can do to reduce — or eliminate — your bad breath.

1. Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Clean

Good oral hygiene is critical to reduce or eliminate those sulfur-producing bacteria. Improve your dental hygiene by brushing twice every day and flossing at least once. Use a mouthwash if you feel like you need extra help clearing out those pesky bacteria. You may even want to use a tongue scraper, a device that gently removes bacteria from the surface of your tongue, to be sure you are covering all your bases.

If you wear dentures, removable prosthetics, retainers, or night guards, remember to clean and sanitize them daily after wearing them to remove all bacteria from their surfaces.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

That’s right — drink more water. Dry mouth is a leading cause of bad breath as the lack of saliva contributes to bacterial overgrowth. Drinking more water can increase saliva production, and it also counters the effects of some mouth-drying habits like drinking alcohol and caffeine and taking certain medications.

3. See Your Dentist Regularly

Seeing your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups can help resolve some of the issues that may be causing your bad breath, including less-than-optimal hygiene, tooth decay, gum disease, and more.

If you are worried about your morning breath, discuss treatment options with your dentist. They may have specific protocols you can try if you need extra help getting fresher smelling breath.

Got Bad Breath? See Us Now!

At See Me Smile Dental & Orthodontics, we understand how embarrassing bad breath can be. After all, it is a very common problem, so we see lots of patients who struggle with it. If you are dealing with morning breath, getting an appointment with a knowledgeable dental professional is the first step in getting to the root of the problem.

Once we have ruled out medical conditions and other non-dental reasons, we can work with you to develop a smart, easy to accomplish dental hygiene protocol to help reduce or resolve your morning breath problem. Our caring staff provides discreet and timely assistance in a confidential environment to reduce embarrassment and help you feel comfortable.

Don’t struggle with morning breath. Contact us at (805) 284-0826 and learn how you can reduce or even eliminate your bad breath today.