Morning breath is never appreciated but it is something we all deal with to some degree. While you may consider this foul odor an inevitable occurrence, it can be helpful to understand exactly what causes morning breath and how you can lessen it.
There is no question that your breath smells different when you wake up than it does throughout the day. This is a result of what happens in your mouth while you sleep. While is shutting down to get some rest, activity is ramping up inside your mouth. Unfortunately, this activity involves a bacteria party.
During the day, your mouth produces ample amounts of saliva. This not only rinses away food particles and beverage residue, but it also neutralizes acids on your teeth. Your spit is a natural smile cleanser, and it is in prime performance while you are awake. In result, your breath is also fresher. Nighttime is a different story. While you sleep, your body signals the saliva glands in your mouth to slow down. This is not an evil effort to make your breath smell bad; it is designed to reduce your need for swallowing while you sleep. However, a decrease is saliva production during sleep leads to a dry mouth, which creates a welcome environment for bacteria.
Unfortunately, all these bacteria in your mouth get hungry. During the day, bacteria feed on the protein of your food and drinks. However, during the night, bacteria often fills up on the proteins found in your saliva and mucus. When the bacteria proteins break down, a chemical reaction occurs. A Sulphur gas is released in the process (hydrogen sulfide), which is known for its “rotten egg” smell. Imagine this foul gas being released by millions of bacteria overnight – morning breath explained!
What Can You Do?
While you may not be able to completely eliminate morning breath, you can take steps to reduce it. Always adhere to a diligent oral care routine before bed, including brushing, flossing and mouthwash. Don’t forget to brush your tongue! The more bacteria and germs you eliminate before bed, the less odor-producing activity you’ll have during the night.
You should also keep up with your routine dental cleanings. Remember that your dentist uses special equipment and technology to clean your teeth in a way that your home care can’t do. If you suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis during the day, we can help you at Mitzi Morris, DMD. You may need cavity treatment or gum disease therapy to remedy your bad breath.