Morning Breath- Why does Your Day Have to Begin Like That?

Everything about a new day symbolizes a fresh start. Why then some of you have mouth reeking of an off-putting smell each morning? Morning breath is a complaint that most people have routinely.

What causes that foul smell? It is mainly because of the dryness of the mouth, bacteria and your habits. The good news is that there are ways to reduce morning breath and some of them are better oral hygiene, inhibiting dry mouth, etc.


What is Morning Breath?

The unpleasant smell from our mouths as soon as we wake up is commonly called morning breath. It remains till you don’t brush your mouth and clean your tongue.

Overnight, the saliva production in the body is lowest. Due to this, the bacteria in the oral cavity are not controlled, and they thrive and produce this foul smell.

Another component of morning breath is the unpleasant smell produced because of food remaining in your mouth. If you don’t clean your mouth after your last meal at night, the food is attacked by bacteria and acids and results in this foul smell.

Therefore, morning breath is the odor that comes out from your mouth as soon as you wake up, formed by bacterial components and food remnants.

Once you brush in the morning and clean your tongue, these bacteria are destroyed, and the foul smell leaves your mouth.

What causes morning breath?

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is the most prevalent cause of morning breath. Throughout the day, the salivary secretion in the mouth is at peak levels.

This ensures that the mouth is kept moist and the foul smell is kept at bay. Saliva plays a vital role in maintaining a check on bacteria that cause a foul odor. But when we sleep at night, the saliva production significantly reduces.

Consequentially, bacteria accumulate in the mouth through the night, and you get up in the morning smelling like that.

Poor Oral Hygiene

It goes without saying that if you don’t drive out the micro-organisms from your mouth, they will thrive and multiply. As this happens, your dental problems will increase.

But this will also bring with it a high degree of halitosis. This means that even morning breath will be more unpleasant. If you don’t keep your mouth clean through the day, it is only going to worsen during the night.


Tobacco is known to cause bad breath. Smoking dries up your mouth, and also makes you more susceptible to gum diseases. The smoke smell, adding to halitosis makes it even worse. (1)

If you have had alcohol and slept without thoroughly brushing your teeth and tongue, you are most likely to wake up with a terribly smelling mouth.

Systemic Illnesses

People with diabetes are known to have a peculiar smell from the mouth. They usually have higher instances of morning breath than normal people.

Similarly, gastric illnesses also add to morning breath. If you suffer from GERD, you have acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus. This is also known to aggravate morning breath.

Food Habits

What is on your tongue at night will be in your breath in the morning. Mainly if you eat strong smelling ingredients like onion and garlic.

These foods leave a smell overnight even if you brush thoroughly before sleeping. Sulfur-containing foods also leave a bad smell. (2)

Treatment of Morning Breath

Practice good oral hygiene

The bacteria that cause the foul smell to flourish in your mouth if you don’t brush properly allow food to accumulate and don’t clean your tongue.

Make it a fixed habit to brush every night, regardless of how tired you are. Once you brush, don’t eat or drink anything. Keep your tongue clean, and floss thoroughly. This will remove any food that is stuck in between your teeth. (3)

Kick the butt

If other health concerns have not made you quit smoking already, do it for respite from the unpleasant morning breath.

Tobacco and other products in a cigarette leave an overpowering smell in your breath, which is difficult to get rid of even if you maintain impeccable hygiene.

The smell from a smoker’s mouth is strong enough to cause discomfort even to a person next to them. Reduce your alcohol intake as this smell remains in the mouth overnight too.

Tackling a dry mouth

Xerostomia is a condition that has many underlying causes and accompanying symptoms. However, you can locally address this problem by remaining well hydrated through the day and even before sleeping at night.

Drink enough water, and don’t substitute water for any sweetened drink. If you have decreased saliva production, you can chew on sugar-free chewing gum to stimulate the glands to produce more saliva.

Visit your dentist regularly

If you have a gingival disease, the tartar build-up will cause a foul smell in your mouth at all times. This will only worsen in the morning. You should visit your dentist to get your teeth cleaned, and treat any periodontal problems.

Similarly, a decayed tooth left untreated can harbor bacteria which emit a foul smell. Having an untreated abscess can also have similar effects.


Even if you are experiencing no symptoms of dental problems, a regular dental check-up is always good. It will keep you warned and wary of any anticipated problems, and your dentist will advise you about methods to prevent it.

Home Remedies for Fresh breath

Alcohol-free mouthwashes are your go-to for an instantly fresh smelling mouth. But nature herself has abundant resources to drive away the morning breath.

  • Mint leaves- chewing on a small mint leaf can immediately give you a fresh breath. You can soak them in water and drink that water too.
  • Fennel seeds – Fennel seeds are often eaten after a meal to drive away the bad smell from the food you have just eaten. These have an antimicrobial effect on the bacteria in the saliva. This is how they keep your mouth from smelling bad.
  • Citrus fruits – Chewing on a small piece of lemon, or orange is also beneficial. These stimulate saliva production and also add flavor to the mouth.
  • Cinnamon Oil – Cinnamon Oil also has an inhibitory effect on bacteria. Boil some cinnamon powder and cardamom seeds in water and use the solution as a mouthwash.
  • Parsley – Chlorophyll is a pigment present in parsley which tackles bad breath. Chewing on parsley will give you a quick fix for your morning breath if you have to rush.
  • Clove – Clove and clove oil are known to have anti-bacterial properties since ancient times. They are also used to control a toothache. Chewing on a clove, or using clove in mouthwash will drive away the bacteria that cause a foul smell. (4)

To Wrap Up

The last thing you need on the morning of an important work appointment or interview is a badly smelling mouth. Work on your oral hygiene and food habits so that you can wake up with a fresh breath every day.


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