So THAT's Why Your Breath Smells So Bad In The Morning

It all makes sense now.
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Look, we’re all mortal ― most of us struggle to sleep well, we all shed skin flakes throughout the day (yep), and every single one of us has billions of bacteria in our mouths.

And while it might be tempting to blame our early-morning halitosis on those bacteria, it doesn’t explain why our breath tends to stink a little more in the AM.

There are plenty of other factors that lead to smelly breath, like the type of food and drink you consume before falling asleep (anyone who’s had a post-bender kebab will know how true that is).

But another, less obvious cause surprised me ― your bad morning breath is most likely related to your hydration levels.

We thought we’d explain why most of us struggle with ghoulish gasps in the morning ― and how to alleviate it for good.

Sleeping with your mouth open is a surefire path to stinky breath

A dry mouth, which can sometimes be a condition called xerostomia, makes your breath smell worse. This is because “Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors,” says the Mayo Clinic.

Your mouth is much more likely to become dry overnight if you sleep with your mouth open (guilty). It more or less follows the logic you’d expect it to ― your mouth is exposed to more drying air, and has nowhere to reserve its existing moisture levels.

Sleeping with your mouth open is often just a habit (and one you can change). But Dr. Abhinav Singh, a sleep physician, says that other “common causes include nasal blockage and sleep apnea.”

Other causes include colds, a deviated septum, and even misaligned teeth. Humidifiers, nasal saline sprays, and nasal strips may help those who regularly sleep with their mouth open.

Drink your water

Of course, it’s important to stay hydrated if you want your morning breath to smell fresh.

A 2015 study found that either rinsing with water for 30 seconds or drinking 200ml of it significantly reduced the amount of stink-causing bacteria in participants’ mouths.

“If you’re wondering why your breath smells so bad when you wake up, it’s because the bacteria has been sitting in your mouth all night instead of getting washed down your throat. By drinking a lot of water, it can help you fight dry mouth and bad breath,” Appolon Dental Group says.

OK, OK, I’ll pour myself a glass...

Water isn’t everything, though

Of course, hydration is just one part of the puzzle ― it’s vital to keep on top of your oral hygiene too.

“The best way to beat bad breath is to ensure that you have an effective oral health routine; this should involve brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste,” says Michaela ONeill, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

“Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell; making sure you clean in between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss at least once a day can help to stop this,” she adds

And you should “brush your tongue as well, or use a tongue scraper, to help remove more bacteria,” ONeill says.

Yeah, I think the idea of rotting curry in my mouth will keep me flossing for the next while, thanks...