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Ever felt that no matter how much you brush, floss and rinse the night before, you just cannot seem to get rid of that funky smell from your breath when you wake up? Well, you are not alone. The good news is that morning breath is usually nothing serious and a natural reaction of our bodies when we sleep.

While sleeping, our salivary glands produce less saliva compared to when we are awake. Saliva is critical in fighting the bacteria in our mouth that causes bad breath. When there are less saliva, the bacteria builds up and produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which is the cause of the bad smell in one’s mouth (read here for the other functions of saliva).

Although we cannot completely prevent morning breath, we can reduce the intensity of the smell with the following methods:

• Proper oral care routine
No surprises here – if one does not brush the night before, bacteria feeds on the remnants of food in our mouths, causing the intensity of one’s morning breath to be even stronger the next morning.

• Gently clean your tongue
Use a tongue scraper or a soft-bristled toothbrush in a downwards motion to keep your tongue clean. This is to prevent your tongue from being a hotbed for plague and bacteria.

• Sleep with your mouth closed
When one breathes with their mouth while sleeping, the minimal saliva in one’s mouth dries up even faster. Once again, this encourages bacteria build up. If one breathes through the nose, there is a higher chance for the saliva to fight the bacteria.

• Stay hydrated
Have a cup of water beside your bed so that the mouth stays wet as long as possible by drinking water before sleep. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, take a sip of water to help stimulate production of saliva.

• Visit a dentist regularly
Regular dental check-ups are important as the dentist can flag out any prevalent issues and determine if one’s morning breath is caused by a more serious underlying problem such as a cavity or an infection.

Do not beat yourself over the fact that your breath does not smell nice when you wake up. Just avoid speaking to your loved ones at a near distance before you brush your teeth (:

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