8 Ways to Beat Morning Breath

If you wake up with bad breath every morning, join the club. Very few people can escape it, and no one starts the day with a minty-fresh mouth. Fortunately, there are ways to fight the dragon.

Bad breath in the morning can have many of the same causes as bad breath any other time of day: dry mouth, smoking, sinus problems, poor dental hygiene, or a stomach disorder, to name just a few.  

No matter when it occurs, most bad breath is actually due to bacteria that live in your mouth and thrive under certain conditions. They prefer dry, acidic and oxygen-free conditions, which generally describes the state of your mouth while you sleep. Not only does saliva production slow down while you're catching z's, sleeping with an open mouth also has a drying effect. But even if you sleep with your mouth closed, the lack of circulating fresh oxygen that occurs can also result in bad breath.

Although it sounds like you can't win the battle against morning breath, there are some steps you can take to make sure you greet the world with a less odious mouth upon waking.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and dry mouth.
  • Don't just brush your teeth before you go to bed. Brush your gums, your inner cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and your tongue.
  • Ask your dentist or oral hygienist for tips.
  • If you suspect you have allergies, post-nasal drip, or chronic sinus infections, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
  • If you take any type of medication, ask your doctor if the drug may be contributing to your breath problem. Any medication that causes dry mouth, such as a diuretic or antihistamine could be a culprit.
  • After brushing and flossing between your teeth at night, swish water or mouthwash through your teeth to make sure you remove all food particles.
  • Try cutting back on or eliminating foods with  powerful odors, such as coffee, garlic, curry, and other strong spices.
  • Get a complete physical check-up. Some medical problems, such as liver and kidney conditions, diabetes and lung disease, can cause or exacerbate bad breath.
  • Keep in mind that bad breath can have more than one cause. For instance, you may have to improve your oral hygiene habits and treat your sinus infection in order to wake up with fresher breath.



The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Common Dental Problems and Procedures. Oct 2002 Web 26 April 2011

Lenton, P, et al. "Counseling and Treating Bad Breath Patients: A Step-by-Step Approach." The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. Spring 2001 2(2) Web 26 April 2011