Eww, that smell! If you awake with morning breath, chances are someone notices it and has remarked how awful it is. Or maybe you’ve noticed it and you’re covering your mouth so other people don’t get a whiff of it. But why do you have morning breath to begin with? And how do you get rid of it for good?
Causes of Bad Breath
Bad breath, called halitosis, is pretty common. The Academy of General Dentistry states that somewhere around 80 million people suffer from chronic bad breath. Those who do not brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly are more likely to have halitosis than people with good oral hygiene habits. People who take medications, suffer from dry mouth, and those who breathe through their mouths instead of their noses may suffer from bad breath. Even if none of these things apply to you, you can still suffer from bad breath due to eating certain foods or first thing in the morning.
Morning breath is often caused by the lack of saliva in your mouth. When you’re awake your mouth usually produces enough saliva to break down food particles that allow odor-causing bacteria to grow. But when you’re asleep, the saliva production slows down and the bacteria starts growing and produces what is called ‘volatile sulfur compounds’ or VSC which cause your mouth to stink.
What Is Morning Breath and Why Do You Have It?
If you mouth breathe, chances are you mouth breathe while sleeping and that causes your mouth to dry out. Dry mouth equals little saliva, which causes morning breath.
Link Between Bad Breath and Health Problems
Bad breath isn’t just an inconvenience. It can be a sign of gingivitis and periodontitis, which can lead to other more serious concerns such as stroke and heart disease. In fact, the toxins in the mouth bacteria can be so bad, they’ve been implicated in Alzheimer’s and oral cancer. If you’re dealing with bad breath, you should speak to your periodontist, Dr. Jeanne Salcetti, about it. She can determine if you need further treatment gum disease.
Bye, Bye Morning Breath
You can reduce the effects of morning breath by practicing good oral hygiene, especially before bed. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of pockets of food that can harbor bacteria. You can also clean your tongue to remove large amounts of bacteria that have gathered to give you morning breath during the night.
To clean your tongue, you’ll need a tongue scraper, a toothbrush with soft bristles, or even a spoon. If your tongue is pink and shiny, it isn’t harboring much bacteria, but if it has a white film covering it, it’s a sign you have bad breath. If you need confirmation, lick your clean wrist and let your wrist dry. Then, smell it. If your breath is stinky, your wrist will be stinky too.
Get rid of the film by either gently scraping your tongue with the tongue scraper or the spoon. Or, alternatively, you can brush your tongue to get it clean. That way, you’ll have less of a chance of having morning breath when you wake up.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Since bad breath isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s important to take care of it, especially if you have chronic bad breath. Seeing your dentist regularly, practicing good oral hygiene, and cutting down on sugar and carbohydrate-laden food is a good way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you have concerns about gum disease and halitosis, be sure to see a periodontist who can address those problems.
If you are suffering from morning breath, visit the office of Salcetti & Associates.