What a glorious feeling it is to wake up after a great night’s sleep on a beautiful morning: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, your muscles are invigorated, then you open your mouth into a barbaric yawp to start the day and the foulest of stenches shuffles out. Bugger! Why do I feel so alive yet my mouth feels like something died inside?
Good question. Things is, far from stuff dying in your mouth, it’s actually providing the perfect breeding ground—for bacteria. When we’re asleep we produce less saliva, which means we’re running low on a fluid that’s chock-full of good bacteria—bacteria designed to fight the odour-causing germs that feed on the sugars left over from the food and drink we consume. During your slumber bacteria in your mouth took advantage of nocturnal conditions and proliferated, resulting in this less-than-pleasant aroma.
It’s natural to experience a degree of morning breath, but the situation is much worse if you have sub-par oral hygiene practices. Keeping your teeth, gums and tongue clean will go a long way in the fight against an offensive rise-and-shine greeting.
“Start by making sure you’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. It may help to scrape or brush the tongue as well,” says Dr. Genaro Romo, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “ Keep in mind that bad breath in the morning is common, but should not be overlooked.”
A mildly funky smell is par for the course then, and at least you can temper it with some honest oral work. If your morning breath persists even after you brush, floss and scrape your tongue, maybe ignore the chirping birds and start your day by making an appointment to see a dentist.