Are you conscious of your breath smelling bad when you wake up? This is the morning breath and can happen to most of us at some point in life.

While this experience is unpleasant, it is quite common and also preventable.

Moreover, you can treat it if you take care of your oral hygiene.

If your bad breath in the morning is chronic then we shall call it with its medical term halitosis.

Though there are ways to mask halitosis too so you do not feel bad about your breath when you start your day.

This article discusses the causes, treatment and prevention of morning breath.

Keep reading to know how you can get rid of it.

causes of morning breath

How Does Morning Breath Happen?

Your breath smells bad because of what your mouth goes through while you are awake.

Hence, bad breath is due to what you eat and drink, have medical conditions or take medicines that cause bad breath.

Food Choices 

Your food choices throughout the day affect your breath during the day.

Then why does your breath smell after a day?

Well, that is because of stuck food particles.

If you did not clean your mouth properly the night before then there might still be a few remaining inside your teeth.

However, throughout the night, the bacteria may have accumulated on the tongue.

Moreover, the enzymes present in your saliva also start metabolizing and breaking down these food particles which release volatile sulfur compounds.

These are mainly responsible for producing a bad smell.

Moreover, certain foods have a strong unpleasant smell anyway.

When your stomach digests them, they enter the bloodstream.

From your bloodstream, they reach your lungs.

Next in the lungs, you end up exhaling these unpleasant odors along with your breath.

If you ate a late-night snack and ignored your nighttime oral care routine then you will likely wake up with a bad breath.

The foods and drinks that will usually cause an issue include:

  • onion
  • coffee
  • garlic
  • spices

They will give you halitosis because all of these have a strong smell.

oral hygiene in morning breath

Oral Hygiene

If you do not brush or floss properly then your mouth will accumulate bacteria and they may settle on the tongue.

Another important step of oral care is using a tongue cleaner.

Tongue scraping gets rid of the bacteria and stuck food particles on your tongue.

Moreover, cleaning your mouth helps to prevent gum disease and gingivitis which also cause bad breath.

Thus, if you have poor oral hygiene then your breath smells bad in morning.

morning breath causes

Medical Conditions Behind Halitosis

If you wake up every day with a bad breath then it may be due to certain medical conditions or medications.

These include:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Gerd
  • Gum Disease

A dry mouth can result from medications that reduce the saliva production inside your mouth.

Also while you are asleep, the production and secretion of saliva decrease.

When saliva is responsible for removing the bacteria that cause bad breath, its decreased levels result in a smelly morning breath in the morning.

It cannot wash away the volatile sulfur compounds during the night hence they accumulate in the morning.

Hence, there is a chance to wake up with a smell because your saliva production will already be low.

Moreover, if you breathe through your mouth or snore while you are sleeping then you are more likely to develop a dry mouth.

open mouth breathing


A bad breath is also a symptom of gum disease.

As the bacteria in your mouth increase and saliva production decreases then they can attack your teeth and harm it.

Hence, it can eventually lead to periodontal disease if saliva does not wash away the bacteria.

One way to identify it is the bad breath.

Moreover, if you suffer from acid reflux, GERD then stomach acid can wash up to your esophagus while you are sleeping at night.

Thus your breath can smell in the morning because of the acids and bacteria that accumulate because of that.

Other than that, smoking can also dry your mouth decreasing saliva production.

Thus it can make you more susceptible to gum disease as well as your breath will smell the next morning.

Furthermore, the tobacco smell is strong enough to persist through the morning.


How To Get Rid Of Morning Breath?

You can treat any bad breath including your morning breath by following proper oral care.

This is the only long-term solution whereby you brush and floss properly but also clean your tongue regularly.

Hence, when you are going to sleep, brush your teeth, floss, use a tongue scraper and mouthwash.

However, do not eat anything after that at all.

Otherwise, that food can break down by the night and release the smelly sulfur compounds.

Also, if you wear a mouthguard or retainer make sure that they are clean.

Cleaning aligners is crucial as dirty ones will definitely cause your breath to smell.

Hence clean your orthodontic gears daily so that there are no bacteria or food particles inside.

Moreover, brush your teeth as soon as you wake up.

Throughout the day you can work on increasing your saliva production.

You can chew sugar-free gum which also helps to loosen the plaque.

Moreover, the chewing action helps to stimulate saliva.

It’s best that it does not contain sugars so there is no threat of decay.

Additionally, you should work on quitting smoking as that is injurious to your health.

For medical conditions such as periodontal disease, acid reflux and diabetes you will get medical treatment.

Your dentist will clean the gum pockets through a scaling and root planning procedure.

Also, it clears the plaque and tartar accumulating on your teeth and gums.

For acid reflux, you can take acid-reducing medicines.

Moreover, if you sleep in an upright position then you can prevent the acid from reaching the esophagus.

Also, you can start drinking more water throughout the day in order to stimulate salivary production.

Replace coffee, tea and alcohol with water as these drinks leave a smell and dry the mouth.




If you notice that you smell bad soon as you wake up then you can certainly treat it.

However, you may much prefer to prevent it together.

Your oral hygiene as well as what you consume matters.

Therefore, in order to completely prevent this unpleasant experience, do not eat any strong-smelling foods.

Refrain from eating onion, spices and garlic especially during the night.

Also do not drink any coffee as the evening starts.

Eat a good diet consisting of fiber that acts as natural toothbrushes and keeps your mouth healthy.

Citrus fruits as well as crunchy fruits like apples and appears to keep producing saliva to reduce the bacteria inside your mouth.

Therefore, your food choices matter.

Wisely choose what to eat throughout the day so you don’t smell bad in the morning as well as during the day.

A well-balanced and nutritious diet will not only impact your physical health but also your oral health.

Moreover, you need to drink water before you to sleep.

This will keep you hydrated therefore not resulting in a dry mouth throughout the night.

Hence, you may not wake up with a dry mouth as well as bad breath.

If you are a regular smoker then giving up on tobacco products is crucial too.

It will not only save your health but also freshen your breath.

Other than that, cleaning your tongue using a scraper, toothbrush or tongue brush twice a day will be enough to prevent the smell.

However, if you are very cautious about it then you should scrape once after every meal so that no bacteria settles onto your tongue.

Good oral hygiene is imperative to have a fresh breath.

As long as you follow with that, you will always smell nice.

consulting doctor

When to Consult a Doctor?

Usually a morning breath is nothing serious.

As long as you are mindful about what you eat and drink as well as take care of your oral hygiene, your bad breath will not bother you.

However, it is a matter of concern if it does not go away despite trying every treatment.

You should see your doctor if:

  • If there is a bad taste in your mouth along with the smell
  • Other symptoms accompany the unpleasant smell
  • Your gums bleed or you split blood when you are brushing

These symptoms could indicate another serious problem besides a simple foul-smelling breath.

If your oral hygiene and food choices are not behind it, then splitting blood could indicate periodontal disease.

However, it is important to remember that it is also treatable.

Thus if you have anxiety due to your breath, get treatment or look for ways to reduce it.

Use a mouthwash, chew sugar-free gum, eat foods that help mask it such as cardamom, cinnamon and parsley.

Do not let this condition affect your social life.

Rather meet your dentist to sort out the exact cause behind it.

Once, you get treated for that, you no longer have to worry about a morning breath.

Thus, make your morning pleasant by seeking timely treatment.