What Causes Morning Breath and How You Can Fix It

morning breath causes and solutions

If you understand the causes of morning breath, you can take steps to eliminate the worst of it.

We have all had bad morning breath at one point or another. It can be quite annoying to wake up and smell the unpleasant odor morning breath can create. This happens when the natural bacteria found in the mouth break down food particles, which results in the release of chemicals. These chemicals have a pungent odor and comprise what we call “morning breath.” Fortunately, there are ways you can quickly amend your bad breath in the morning. First, it helps to know what causes the worst morning breath. Then, you can remember tips for keeping your breath fresh every day. Read on for these causes and solutions to pesky morning breath. 

Potential Causes of Morning Breath


In addition to the natural leftover food particles in your mouth that cause bad breath, certain types of food can create especially smelly breath. Garlic, onions, and spices all enter the bloodstream once they are digested. They are then carried to your lungs, where they affect your breath. If you eat these foods before sleeping, your morning breath will be negatively affected.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is crucial for breaking down bacteria and washing away remaining food particles. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, decreases saliva production. Saliva production naturally decreases overnight, which is why so many people can wake up with bad breath. 

Neglecting Oral Care

Brushing and flossing before bed are essential for removing remaining food particles in your teeth. Neglecting to do this can cause bad morning breath, but can also lead to many more problems such as periodontal disease and cavities. 

Tobacco Use

Smoking regularly can lead to bad breath, in the morning or during the day. Tobacco users are also more prone to gum disease. 


Certain medications will result in dry mouth, which can lead to bad morning breath. Other medications may release foul chemicals in your breath once the dose is broken down by the body. 

Morning Breath Solutions

With ingenuity and diligence, bad morning breath can be conquered. Some of the following methods are quick fixes, and some are preventative. 


Once you get out of bed, brushing your teeth should be the first thing you do. Your toothbrush will immediately eliminate any remaining food particles that have contributed to bad breath. 


If you prefer to wait until after eating breakfast to brush your tooth, rinse your mouth with mouthwash. This will help freshen up your breath, fight plaque, and remove any food particles and odors from your breakfast.

Chew Gum

Keep a pack of sugar-free, mint-flavored gum on hand for a quick chew after meals or whenever your breath needs a boost. 

Break Bad Habits

One way to eliminate bad morning breath is to avoid things that cause it. This means being careful about what you eat at night and when, quitting tobacco, and keeping your body hydrated. If you wake up thirsty, keep a glass of water next to your bed for small sips. 

The ultimate way to combat bad breath is to maintain regular twice-daily brushing and flossing and to book dental checkups every six months. 

Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity

Affinity Dental, located in Catonsville, MD, has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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