That moment you wake up with terrible morning breath, you think to yourself, “Why me?” You know you brushed your teeth last night, so what happened? Most likely, the bacteria that live in your mouth are feeding off of something there, but there are a few other possibilities. Here are some questions to ask yourself to pinpoint the source of your morning breath.
What did I just eat? Look out for pungent foods that smell strongly on their own. When it comes to causing bad breath, garlic is a repeat offender. Those odors linger long after you swallow. It may even be a day or two till they dissipate. In the meantime, keep your mouth fresh with a minty spray.
Is my mouth really, truly clean? You may brush faithfully, but if you’ve not been flossing, you’ve probably missed spots where food still clings to your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) says, “Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.” It’s nobody’s favorite task, but when it comes to bad breath, an extra minute of flossing goes a long way.
Is my mouth dry? According to the ADA, having a dry mouth can give you bad breath because your saliva isn’t washing away food particles. In addition, BreathMD states, “Mouthwash that contains alcohol dries out your mouth,” and advises finding a non-alcoholic mouthwash. Whatever you do, keep hydrated with water, and consider the occasional spritz of natural breath freshener.
Am I sick? Being sick can bring morning breath as a side-effect. For example, you might have a sinus infection, or allergies leading to post-nasal drip. In these cases, the mucus feeds the bacteria in your mouth and throat, which give off that smell. If you’re sick, cut yourself some slack and get well soon. The bad breath will go away with the sickness.
It’s none of the above, so now what? Bad breath might be the least of your oral troubles. If you’re fine on all the above questions but have persistent morning breath, you may have tooth or gum decay. Those are problems only a dentist can diagnose and cure. Your next question may be, “When did I last visit the dentist?”
Finding out what causes your morning breath can help you avoid it next time. For now, a natural breath spray should keep you feeling fresh!