why do we get bad breath at night
The unpleasantness of morning breath leads you to quickly cover your mouth when you pass your loved ones in the morning. You realize no amount of brushing, flossing, or mouthwash the night before seems to mask the overwhelming odor from your mouth when you wake up. Getting out of bed with bad breath, halitosis, in the morning is fairly common as our mouth goes into a Árest and digestÁ mode overnight. Up to 80 million people, according to the, suffer from bad breath that is ever-present, while millions of Americans suffer from bad breath in limited situations such as in the morning or after eating pungent food. People who suffer from dry mouth often due to taking certain medications or mouth breathers are more prone to morning breath. Those with poor oral hygiene will also suffer from bad breath more readily than those with good oral hygiene, of course. Bad breath in the morning is mostly attributed to a lack of saliva. ÁDuring the day, your mouth produces a significant amount of saliva, but while you sleep, saliva production goes down,Áá, a cosmetic dentist and past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in Atlanta, Ga. , toldá
Medical Daily á in an email. Saliva is critical for sweeping away the food particles that would otherwise linger and collect bacteria. A decrease in saliva production increases the likelihood of dry mouth. Á[This] allows bacteria to grow and produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which is what smells bad,Áá , dentists at Helm Nejad Stanleyá Áá Dentistry in Beverly Hills, Calif. , toldá Medical Daily á in an email. Bacteria munches on compounds, proteins, amino acids, and leftover foods that are stuck in your mouth and teeth to produce these VSCs, which causes the bad odor.
The way you sleep can also affect the intensity and frequency of morning breath. Snoring or breathing through the mouth at night can increase the likelihood of bad breath. Most mouth breathers sleep with their mouth open, causing their mouth to get dryer and therefore letting breath-causing bacteria flourish. Basically, Áany time you reduce saliva in the mouth, you reduce the mouthÁs ability to fight the bacteria that causes the bad breath,Á Flax said. While bad breath has nothing to do with age, the bacteria that causes bad breath may have several health implications. These implications are secondary to dental health complications. Typically, according to Nejad and Stanley, the first cause of bad breath is periodontal issues such as gingivitis and periodontitis, which have been proven to be involved with heart disease and stroke. á This suggests your oral health is strongly connected to other health conditions, also known as the mouth-body connection or the oral-systemic link. ÁThe toxins from oral bacterial are released into your blood stream and can possibly inflict mayhem on other parts of your body,Á Flax said. This has been linked to serious health risks including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, oral cancer, and AlzheimerÁs. Although there is no outright, foolproof prevention for morning breath, there are things you can do to reduce its affect. Brushing, flossing, and scraping your tongue before bed helps clean out the mouth and get rid of food particles so the bacteria have less ÁfoodÁ to munch on.
The first step to evaluating if you have bad breath is to see if you have it. Flax recommends doing a visual test by using a mirror to view the back of your tongue. ÁA pink shiny tongue indicates fresh breath, but if your tongue has a thick white film, it is likely that you have bad breath,Á he said. Another method is to lick your (clean) wrist. Let it dry for a few seconds, and then smell your wrist. If you detect an odor, according to Flax, it is an indicator that you have bad breath. A simple and commonly employed method is to use a soft bristle toothbrush, tongue scraper, or the edge of a spoon to gently clean your tongue. This is to prevent your tongue from being a hotbed of bacteria. It is less likely the bacteria will harbor in your mouth. The above methods are not meant to replace a dentist visit. You can request your dentist to perform a quick, easy, and painless test of the bacteria in your mouth to determine if you have bad breath. Until then, stay fresh and keep smiling. Does this sound familiar? You wake up in the morning and quickly cover your mouth with your hand so your partner doesnÁt get a whiff of your bad breath. Morning breath, halitosis Á whatever you call it, it can be unpleasant and it probably isn't the way you want to greet your partner, or the day. ÁEveryone has morning breath to some degree,Á says Sally J. Cram, DDS, a periodontist in the Washington, D. C. , area and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. HereÁs the simple reason why: When you sleep, your mouth dries out.
When your mouth dries out, odor-producing bacteria proliferate. ÁWhen you sleep, your normal flow of decreases,Á Dr. Cram explains. ÁThatÁs why your breath can be worse in the morning. Á If you snore or breathe through your mouth at night, youÁre more likely to have bad breath in the morning than those who donÁt, she adds. In both situations, your mouth is even more prone to drying out, setting the stage for bacteria to grow. Other Causes of Bad Breath Some medications can cause your mouth to become dry overnight, worsening your halitosis. ThatÁs why older people, who are often on many medications, frequently find their breath more unpleasant in the morning. Smokers also may find they have bad morning breath. Smoking not only causes your saliva Á your natural mouth rinse Á to dry up but also can raise the temperature of your mouth, making it a breeding ground for that dreaded bacteria that causes bad breath. Add this to your list of reasons to quit smoking. , too, can lead to bad breath. The mucus that drips down the back of your throat becomes a food source for bacteria. Should your postnasal drip become infected, it can put more odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. How to Treat Bad Breath If youÁre one of the 65 percent of Americans with, thereÁs good news: Bad breath is treatable. Brush. Odor-causing bacteria accumulate between your teeth and on your tongue, so practicing good dental hygiene will do a lot to improve your morning breath. When you brush, be sure to do so for at least two minutes, not the 35 or 40 seconds that many people do.
After you brush, go directly to bed! ÁDonÁt eat or drink anything so youÁre not leaving food in your mouth,Á Cram says. Also, when you brush your teeth, brush your tongue too. Another favorite repository for odor-causing bacteria is the back of your tongue. YouÁll notice your breath is fresher in the morning if you brush your tongue before you go to bed. ÁEighty-five percent of bad breath comes from the tongue,Á says New York dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS, the president and founder of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. ÁIt really helps tremendously to use a tongue cleanser before you go to sleep, or anytime during the day. Á Floss. Brushing alone wonÁt remove the food particles that can become stuck between your teeth and gums. Á is as important as brushing," says Kimberly Harms, DDS, a dentist in Farmington, Minn. , and a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. Rinse. Mouthwash will get rid of the odor but only temporarily. Cram suggests that when you are buying mouthwash to kill the germs that can cause bad breath, you look for one that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. A quick swish wonÁt do it. If the directions say rinse for 30 seconds, then rinse for 30 seconds. ÁThe mouth rinse has to be in there long enough to kill the bacteria,Á Dr. Harms advises. ÁRinse for five to ten seconds, youÁre not getting the full effect. The trick is you have to follow directions. Á Do you have a health head-scratcher? , and we may answer your question in a future column!
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