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Say Goodnight to Morning Breath

If you’re one of the estimated eighty million unlucky people in America who wakes up each morning with less than minty-fresh breath, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately thirty-five to forty-five percent of people on earth suffer from the condition known as halitosis, or as it is referred to in the morning "morning breath" – that combination of bad breath and equally bad taste in your mouth that only seems to show up after sleeping. So, what causes morning breath- and what can you do to stop it?

Morning breath is that sour, Sulphur-laden odor in your mouth that shows up after you’ve been asleep. Much like the term ‘morning sickness,’ however, morning breath is a bit of a misnomer. Morning breath can strike anytime you wake up- even after a mid-day nap. Morning breath is caused by the bacteria in your mouth that normally nosh on the carbohydrates left behind after you eat. However, once you brush your teeth and rinse all those carbohydrates away, they have nothing to snack on until your next meal- so they move on to the proteins in your mouth, which can be found in your saliva and mucous membranes. The breakdown of the proteins is what causes the Sulphur smell that most of us associate with morning breath.


Thankfully there are many steps you can take to reduce or eliminate morning breath. For starters, if you’re not already brushing your teeth and flossing before bed, you should start doing that immediately- regardless of if you have morning breath or not. Flossing is especially important at night because food and bacteria trapped between the teeth will increase bad breath as the bacteria in your mouth decomposes the food particles. This can cause not just morning breath, but just bad breath in general.

Another way to reduce morning breath is to use a tongue scraper and scrape away some of the bacteria on the tongue that is responsible for causing your morning breath in the first place. It is estimated that about eighty-five percent of the bacteria that causes bad breath is living in your tongue. If you are unsure how to use a tongue scraper, ask your dentist to show you. Improper use may not have any benefits- and might actually hurt your tongue.

We also recommend using a mouth was- especially one that contains chlorhexidine- but not alcohol. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, which is counterproductive when trying to eliminate bad breath. A moisturizing mouthwash will not only slay those nasty bacteria which are snacking on the proteins in your mouth, but it will also prevent the entire bad-breath process from occurring in the first place.

Finally, promote saliva production while you’re awake to keep your mouth in balance. Chewing sugarless gum or eating sugarless mints that contain xylitol can help boost your saliva production, which helps rinse away food particles that may otherwise provide a feast for the bacteria in your mouth.

If you try all of these tips and are still having issues with morning breath, or if you have bad breath around the clock and can’t seem to eliminate it using these methods, speak to your dentist. While many sources of bad breath are environmental, there are some that could be symptoms of a larger health problem, either in your mouth or elsewhere in your body.


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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959

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3317 Masonboro Loop Rd
Suite 140
Wilmington, NC 28409