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Morning Breath: What Causes it & How to Prevent it

on . Posted in Blog

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Have you ever wondered why your breath stinks after a night of sleep? Well, it may be quite embarrassing, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, because it can be treated just like other causes of bad breath.
Morning breath is something that we are all familiar with- either we have experienced someone else’ breathe in the morning that was not pleasant, or even have experienced our own.

Studies show that everyone has morning breath to some extent, because when we sleep, the normal flow of saliva decreases, setting the stage for growth of odor-causing bacteria.  Besides, if you snore or breathe through your mouth at night, you are more likely to have a bad breath in the morning, than those who don’t.

What Causes Morning Breath?

There are several causes of morning breath. The most common ones are;

•    Dry mouth. This condition occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth do not produce enough saliva, which is responsible for removing the odor-causing bacteria.  Usually, saliva production decreases significantly when you sleep, creating a conducive environment for such bacteria. Certain medications can also cause dry mouth, worsening the condition.
•    Poor oral hygiene. Generally, the mouth is a perfect breeding area for bacteria. If you do not brush and floss effectively, food particles can stick in crevices on the surface of the tongue, between the teeth or even along the gum tissue. The bacteria in your mouth break down these food particles, releasing the bad breath.
•    Infections in your mouth. Gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health conditions can cause morning breath
•    Eating certain foods in the evening. E.g., if you eat strong smelling foods like garlic and raw onion, and fail to brush your teeth well, you are likely to experience morning breath.
•    Alcohol use. Drinking alcohol lowers the rate at which saliva is produced in the mouth, creating a favorable environment for odor-causing bacterial to develop.
•    Smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. These dry out the mouth.

Preventing Morning Breath

The key to fresh breath starts with focusing on the health of your mouth. Some of ways of ensuring this include the following;
•    Scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleanings
•    Brushing your tongue. The tongue harbors bacteria, so brushing it carefully reduces odors
•    Ensuring proper nutrition, e.g., eating veggies, herbs and fruits, which help in maintaining a healthy mouth
•    Always brushing your teeth before bed
•    Flossing. It helps to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth that would otherwise breed bacteria overnight.
•    Cleaning orthodontic appliances daily, if you have any
•    Avoiding alcohol and tobacco-based products.
•    Avoiding strong-smelling foods at night, e.g. garlic or raw onion

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