Morning Breath

a couple cuddling in bed

What causes bad morning breath and how do you prevent and get rid of it

Morning breath is an expression referring to the bad breath that people commonly have in the morning. It happens to most people but in varying degrees. Many people want to eliminate it because a lot of couples sleep in the same bed and would want to enjoy a cuddle or even a kiss in the morning without the embarrassment of bad breath. Although many people believe it is just a fact of life and that you cannot get rid of it, there actually are several actions you can take in order to significantly reduce it or maybe even eliminate it from your mornings.

What causes morning breath

When we are unconscious and sleep during the night, many of our bodily functions stop or slow down, and our glands that produce saliva are one of them. Saliva is very important in fight bad breath because it is high in oxygen and this kills the anaerobic bacteria. Saliva also helps break down the food particles and removes them from the mouth when the saliva is swallowed. Due to the lower amounts of saliva during sleep, the mouth is exposed to less oxygen and there is less of it circulating to cleanse and remove particles from the mouth. To learn more about this read our article on What Causes Bad Breath.

How to get rid of morning breath

Eliminating morning breath in the morning is simple; drink water, eat breakfast, then floss and brush your teeth and gargle your favorite mouthwash. The thing is most people want to wake up and not have to deal with morning breath. If that is the case then you need to do several things before you go to bed in order to prevent having bad morning breath when you wake up the next morning. The next section covers these things.

If the person with the bad morning breath isn't you, but your partner's, then read our article on How To Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath and direct them to this website.


In order to prevent morning breath it is important to ensure that the mouth is as free from particles such as plaque and food as possible. These particles will provide fuel for the bacteria and help them to multiply. The bacteria eat these particles and bad breath comes from volatile sulfur compounds that is a result of anaerobic respiration of these bacteria.

Also you want to create an environment that is less conducive to the bacteria. The bacteria that cause bad breath thrive in an acidic environment. You want to make sure that your mouth is an alkaline environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Based off of these two fundamentals in eliminating bad breath (remove bacterias' food source, creating an inhospitable environment for the bacteria), here are some steps to take to prevent having morning breath.

Floss, Brush, Clean Tongue, and Gargle Mouthwash

This one is a no brainer. Brushing, flossing, and cleaning your tongue are the most important tools we have in removing food particles from our mouth. Make sure you take your time as you brush and floss and do a good job. If you do not take your time there is little wonder why you have bad morning breath. Read about our Comprehensive Oral Care Regimen in order to learn the best techniques and tools to use to clean your mouth properly.

Keep your mouth wet

Having a dry mouth encourages the growth of bad breath causing bacteria, so it is important to have a moist mouth while you sleep. Here are some things that help increase saliva production:

Use a Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash

Mouthwash that contains alcohol dries out your mouth. This is the last thing you want as you go to bed, a dry mouth. Use a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol and also try to use an oxygenating mouthwash such as TheraBreath. Read our Using Mouthwash article to learn which mouthwash to use and how to best use and gargle it. Also you can make your own excellent mouthwashes, in order to learn how read our article on How To Make Mouthwash.

Stop breathing through your mouth

If you breath with your mouth open, this will dry it out faster than anything and dust, allergens, and other airborne particles will collect in your mouth that are not conducive to fresh breath either. It is hard to consciously do anything as you sleep, such as forcing yourself to breath through your nose, because you are unconscious while you sleep. What you can do though is make sure your sinuses and nasal passages are clear before you go to sleep. Many people who breath through there mouth as they sleep do this because their body knows that breathing through their congested nose is too difficult. If you suffer from congestion try the methods listed in our post-nasal drip article especially nasal irrigation and this should help you reduce nasal congestion and allow you to breathe easier through your nose.

Use Saliva Stimulants

There are various dry mouth products on the market that increase saliva flow and some that you even may keep in your mouth while you sleep such as XyliMelts. If you wake up during the night, it would also be a good idea to drink some water and even swish it around in your mouth a bit.

Gargle Baking Soda

Gargling baking soda before going to bed will cause your mouth to be more of an alkaline environment which is good for killing bacteria. Just put a teaspoon in a cup of water and gargle the solution for a minute. Also swallow a bit of the solution (it's not harmful) in order to fully coat the back of the throat. Just spit out the solution and do not rinse your mouth before going to bed.

Practice Proper Oral Health Care

Bad breath is caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria that release bad smelling gasses when they feed on proteins in your mouth. In order to get rid of morning breath, it is important to lower the population of anaerobic bacteria. This is mainly carried out by practicing proper oral health care on a daily basis. To learn about effective products and procedures read our article on How To Get Rid of Bad Breath.

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Comments (9)
Pages | 1

This was very informative.

by John Whiteside on Dec 15, 2016 | 11:35 AM

i gargled moutwash without alchohol and made my own toothpaste and it actually works..thx

by Alezae Valenzuela on Nov 14, 2016 | 11:00 PM

please help ! it is not just bad morning breath , it is a stincky smell from his mouth that i have to put up every night . i do not know how long i can take this or i will just go to another room! am i alone with this problem or this is normal ?

by amy on Jun 29, 2015 | 7:32 PM

How sweet James!

by Terra on Nov 4, 2014 | 1:37 PM

The writer is correct about not using mouthwashes that contain alcohol, but they're expensive as hell. Good homemade mouthwashes are as effective and much, much cheaper. As below, I recommend hydrogen peroxide 3% and equal amounts of water.

by Liam on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:42 AM

Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper in a back to front motion, then use 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water as a mouthwash. Rinse and gargle about 1 minute. Do this before or after brushing and flossing. It shouldn't matter. Don't use regular toothpaste. It has some horrible stuff in it. Make your own paste with baking soda and salt 3:1 and add a bit of hydrogen peroxide and/or water to make a paste. Brush at least 3 to 4 minutes, using a kitchen timer.

by hann on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:42 AM

Thank you! Excellent article...nothing is as exciting as waking up next to the one you love, kissing them passionately and not having to worry about morning breath!

by Aaron on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:41 AM

People should try gargling with salt water it kills the bacteria

by ini on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:41 AM

I used to have bad morning breath and my wife would complain. Now I floss, use a tongue scraper, waterpik, and nasal irrigate, brush, and use mouthwash before I go to bed and I wake up without bad breath at all. My wife is much happier!

by James on Oct 15, 2014 | 1:40 AM
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