Few simple pleasures in life compare to waking up next to the person you love. Starting a new day next to someone with whom you intend to grow old is sheer happiness.
Until you smell their morning breath.
But don’t blame your loved one. The stinky breath you smell every morning might not be his or her fault. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, up to 80 million people suffer from halitosis, which stems from a variety of sources. Here’s a look at what causes halitosis—and how you can fix your loved one’s morning breath.
Most notably, morning breath can be attributed to lack of saliva. Those who snore or breathe through their mouths have a higher chance of developing bad breath by the morning due to dry mouth, which allows bacteria to flourish. Essentially, any time saliva is reduced, the mouth’s ability to fight the bacteria that causes bad breath is compromised.
Eating and Drinking Habits
Food is one of the biggest morning breath culprits. Garlic and onions are the most common triggers, alongside coffee and alcoholic beverages. If your spouse eats or drinks these acidic, pungent foods before retiring for the night, there’s a good chance he or she will wake up with not-so-great breath in the morning, even after brushing and flossing.
So, why is this the case? Essentially, acids in food get absorbed by the body. Their smells are then expelled through the act of breathing, so when you eat something pungent, you can guarantee those scents will come right back out.
Coffee and alcohol dry out the mouth and allow bad-smelling bacteria to grow. That, in addition to the normal sleeping cycle that usually entails mouth breathing, leaves a not-so-fresh flavor come the morning.
Poor dental hygiene is another major cause behind halitosis. If your partner isn’t as diligent as he or she should be with brushing and flossing before bed and in the morning, the mouth can become a fertile growing field for bacteria.
Additional causes of halitosis include:
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Medications that dry out the mouth
- Not drinking enough water, which can lead to dehydration
In some cases, bad breath can be caused by serious medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer, sinus and respiratory infections and allergies.
Cures for Morning Breath
While the list of bad breath causes is extensive, the list of remedies is equally as long.
Abstaining from acidic food and drinks and avoiding tobacco is a great first step, but that may not be enough. Not to worry—you can still help kiss morning breath goodbye by making sure to follow these other oral care tips:
- Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups help keep your mouth free of plaque and bacteria.
- Brush and floss at least twice a day. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of plaque, bacteria and food particles, all causes of bad breath.
- Keep your tongue clean. Many people don’t realize that a tongue-scraper can be a powerful tool in the battle against bad breath.
- Hydrate. Drinking water and staying properly hydrated will help keep your mouth from drying out.
And if all else fails, keep some breath mints on the nightstand and put one in your spouse’s mouth before that morning kiss.