Why Do We Get Morning Breath?

Bad breath first thing in the a.m. is totally normal and happens to most of us, though that's little comfort when that someone special tries to wake you up with a kiss. Find out what causes morning breath and how to wake up with a fresher smelling mouth.


Bad breath can be a deal breaker when it comes to confidence or relationships, but knowing how to protect yourself from the stinky situation can be a social life-saver. Instead of being defeated by dry mouth or having a good morning interrupted by a hint of halitosis, read on to learn how to get rid of morning breath.

What Causes Morning Breath?
During waking hours your saliva helps break down bacteria, but as you sleep, “your mouth gets dry and there is little saliva to flush the bacteria away,” explains Jonathan Roberts, DDS, of Prosthodontics of New York. “Anyone can have morning breath because everyone has bacteria in their mouths, but some people get it worse because they have sulfur which colonize the dorsum (top) of the tongue.” These bacteria have much more intense stink.

Add a Tongue Scraper to Your Dental Care Regimen
Sure you know to brush and floss (and you do it almost regularly) but your bathroom cabinet should also be stocked with a tongue scraper to help get rid of morning breath. “Tongue scraping is very useful when it comes to preventing bad breath,” Dr. Roberts says. If regular tongue scraping doesn’t cure your bad breath, talk to your dentist about prescription mouthwash to kill the sulfur-producing bacteria.

Find the Foods to
Ditch or Digest
You may want to rethink biting into that ferocious burrito or tuna sandwich if you are worried about it’s lingering foul-smelling effects. No surprise here: garlic, onions, and strong spices like curry are top culprits of bad breath. Eat them at dinner and the fragrance can still be with you in the morning. On the other hand, some research suggests eating an apple, chewing on fresh leaves of mint, or rinsing with vinegar may make smells disappear faster.

Get a Medical Opinion
Dr. Roberts reminds anyone who is concerned about morning breath or suffers from a routine of bad breath to get advice from an expert. “The bottom line is there is no cure for morning breath, everyone can suffer from it from time to time,” he says. “Routine dental care with a professional is a must.”

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest