Morning breathe: Everything you need to know about

-by Dr Hiba Shams

In recent times, everyone is getting conscious about looks and appearance. People spend so much time, energy and money to look prim and proper. Among such things include bad breathe that can shatter one’s confidence and self-esteem. Morning breathes another curse for many who experience it.

Morning breath is the term that people commonly use to describe breath that smells bad when a person wakes up. It is a widespread problem.

What is morning breath?

Morning breath usually refers to a type of bad breath that affects people when they wake up. Another term for bad breath is halitosis, which attributes to chronic bad breath that does not go away easily.

Causes of morning breath

Morning breath usually occurs due to the following reasons:

  • Food particles: During the night, the enzymes in saliva will break down food particles remaining in between teeth, on the tongue, or around the gum line. This breakdown releases Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSCs), which give off a bad smell. The specific foods that a person eats can also influence how their breath smells, including garlic, onions, coffee and spices.
  • Smoking: Smoking can also cause bad breath. A smoker may not be aware of the effect that smoking can have on their breath odour because smoking dampens the sense of smell.
  • Dry mouth: A person may experience morning breath if they have a dry mouth. Saliva acts a lubricant and helps the mouth remove bacteria that they build up over the day and night. If not enough saliva is produced, bacteria will again be able to build up more often. As a result, the release of VSCs overnight may be higher, hence causing morning breath. Breathing through the mouth other than nose can also dry it out. People who sleep with their mouth open or snore heavily tend to have a drier mouth and more likely to have bad breath in the morning.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene is a common cause of morning breath. Proper brushing and flossing remove bacteria and food particles that cause bad breath. If a person does not regularly clean their teeth, they could also develop gum and tooth disease.
  • Underlying medical conditions that cause morning breath: Underlying chronic conditions that are not directly related to the mouth can sometimes be responsible for an unpleasant breath odour. For instance, untreated diabetes can be a cause of bad breath. Some infections — such as tonsillitis, sinusitis, and bronchitis — and fungal infections of the mouth, lips, and tongue can also harm the inspiration. Liver or kidney disease can also result in bad breath.

Treatment and remedies

People can often improve their morning breath by doing the following:

  • Keeping the mouth clean
  • Brush teeth twice a day and cleaning between them through dental floss. This can keep mouth bacteria under control. One can also use mouthwash to help clear bacteria.
  • A tongue scraper can also be part of the brushing routine to remove bacteria from the tongue.
  • Those who wear removable dentures should remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before wearing them.
  • Visits dentist regularly to help maintain oral hygiene.
  • Drink more water
  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption can lead to an improvement in breath odour.

When to see a dentist

If morning breath does not go away with common treatment options, they may need to seek advice from a dental professional.

-The author can be reached at

August 7, 2020

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