When you wake up in the morning, and the first thing you smell is your morning breath, you know it’s time to find out what’s going on. Morning breath is an offensive breath that affects people upon waking up. 

As for what causes morning breath, there are various reasons for this phenomenon, from bad oral hygiene to dry mouth to various health conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at the actual cause of morning breath and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

Also, see, How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath Or Halitosis and Dangers of A Root Canal 

What Causes Morning Breath?

There are many different causes of morning breath, but the most common cause is simply the fact that you have been sleeping for several hours and your mouth has not had a chance to produce saliva. Saliva is crucial for flushing out food particles and bacteria that can cause bad breath, so when you sleep, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for foul-smelling bacteria.

Other causes include:

1. Poor oral hygiene

It’s no surprise that poor hygiene can lead to morning breath. When you don’t brush your teeth or clean your tongue before bed, the food and bacteria in your mouth start to break down and release foul-smelling gases. This process is exacerbated by the fact that your mouth is dryer at night, which allows those gases to linger.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is another common condition that causes morning breath. When you have GERD, stomach acid and other contents flow back up into your esophagus. 

This can cause a sour taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad. 

GERD can also cause inflammation of the throat and airways. This can lead to a buildup of mucus, which can make your breath smell bad. 

Finally, GERD can cause problems with saliva production. Saliva is needed to keep the mouth moist and help neutralize acids. So if you have GERD, you may not produce enough saliva, which can also contribute to bad breath.

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the severity of your morning breath if you suffer from GERD:

  • Avoid eating spicy or acidic foods before bedtime
  • Elevate your head while sleeping to keep stomach acids from rising into your throat
  • Take over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications to control GERD symptoms
  • Quit smoking if you smoke, as tobacco use can make GERD worse

If you follow these tips, you should notice a reduction in the severity of your morning breath. However, if your symptoms are still severe, it’s important to see a doctor, as GERD can be a serious condition.

3. Tobacco

Tobacco use can cause morning breath for a few different reasons. First, tobacco products contain chemicals that can dry out your mouth. This means there is less saliva to wash away the bacteria that cause morning breath. 

Second, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products can cause inflammation in your throat and sinuses. This can lead to a buildup of mucus, which can also contribute to bad breath. Dangers Of Smoking.

4. Eating certain foods

There are certain foods that are more likely to cause morning breath than others. Foods that contain high levels of protein, such as meats and cheeses, can cause bad breath because they promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth. 

Sugar is also a major culprit, as it feeds the bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay.

Besides, these foods take longer to digest, which means they can start to rot and produce bad-smelling compounds overnight.

Also, when you eat onions, garlic, and other spicy foods, your body metabolizes them and produces sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds are responsible for the characteristic odor of garlic breath.

So if you want to avoid morning breath after eating onions or garlic, brush your teeth well or rinse your mouth with mouthwash before bed. High Blood Sugar Effects On The Body.

Underlying Medical Conditions

5. Diabetes

It’s no secret that diabetes can cause a number of unpleasant side effects. One of the less-talked-about symptoms is morning breath.

For people with diabetes, morning breath is caused by high blood sugar levels in the presence of insulin resistance or insufficient insulin to move it into the cells for energy. Instead, their liver breaks down fat to provide fuel, leading to ketone formation. These are chemicals that make your breath smell sweet or fruity.

If you have diabetes and are waking up with bad breath, it’s important to see your doctor. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

6. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a condition that causes the tonsils to become inflamed. Tonsils are a pair of soft tissue masses at the back of the throat and are part of the body’s immune system. When they become inflamed, they can cause a number of symptoms, including bad breath.

The main symptom of tonsillitis is a sore throat. Other symptoms can include fever, difficulty swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms can make it difficult to breathe through the nose, which can lead to mouth breathing and morning breath.

Additionally, the bacteria causing tonsillitis can release foul-smelling chemicals causing morning breath.

Treatment for tonsillitis usually involves antibiotics to clear the infection. However, some home remedies can also help relieve symptoms and speed up recovery. Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a sore throat, while drinking plenty of fluids will help keep the throat hydrated. Resting and avoiding irritants like smoke and alcohol will also help promote healing.

7. Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, which are the air-filled cavities around the bones of your face. 

Most people are unaware that sinusitis can be a cause of morning breath. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, which are the air-filled cavities around the bones of your face. 

The inflammation can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, or structural problems in the nose. When the cavities become inflamed, they can fill with mucus and other secretions, leading to bad breath.

The mucus can also drain into the back of the throat, which can dry out overnight and cause bad breath in the morning.

In addition to morning breath, sinusitis can cause several other symptoms, including a runny nose, congestion, facial pain and pressure, and headaches. If you suspect you may have sinusitis, it’s important to see a doctor so they can properly diagnose and treat the condition.

8. Cavities and gum disease

Cavities and gum disease are two of the most common causes of morning breath.

They occur when bacteria break down tooth enamel, causing holes in the teeth. Gum disease happens when bacteria build up in the gums and cause inflammation.

When you have a cavity, food particles can get trapped in the tooth and start to rot. This can cause a foul smell that will be especially noticeable in the morning. 

Both cavities and gum disease can be treated with proper dental care. If you have morning breath that’s caused by either of these conditions, be sure to see your dentist for an evaluation and treatment plan.

9. Poorly fitting dental appliances

If you wear dental appliances, such as braces, retainers, or dentures, and you wake up with bad breath, it could be due to the fit of your appliances. If your appliances don’t fit properly, they can trap food and bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to morning breath.

To avoid this problem, make sure that your dental appliances fit properly. See your dentist or orthodontist if you think your appliances may not be fitting correctly. In the meantime, brush and floss regularly to remove food and bacteria from your mouth.

10. Seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies can wreak havoc on your sinuses and your respiratory system, making it difficult to breathe. When you can’t breathe through your nose, your mouth breathes. And when you mouth-breathe, you are more likely to snore. Snoring dries out your mouth and throat, which can lead to morning breath.

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the impact of seasonal allergies on your morning breath. First, try to keep your bedroom as clean as possible to reduce the number of allergens in the air. You can also use a saline nasal spray to help clear your nose and throat. 

11. Liver or kidney issues

When you have a liver or kidney issue, it can cause morning breath when you wake up. This is because these organs are not able to filter out toxins from the body as effectively as they normally would. As a result, these toxins build up and are exhaled through the mouth, causing bad breath.

If you have liver or kidney issues, there are some things you can do to help improve your morning breath. First, make sure to brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly before going to bed. This will help remove any food particles that could contribute to bad breath.

In addition, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will help keep your mouth hydrated and reduce the concentration of toxins in your saliva. Finally, avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar, as these can worsen liver and kidney problems. 

If you follow these tips, you should notice a significant improvement in your morning breath.

12. Chronic lung infection

When you have a chronic lung infection, morning breath is one of the many symptoms you may experience. The infection can cause a buildup of mucus in your lungs, leading to bad breath. 

Moreover, this buildup is exacerbated by the fact that you have been lying down all night, and your lungs cannot get rid of the mucus and bacteria as effectively as they can during the day.

Tips to Prevent Morning Breath

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated
  • Brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly before going to bed
  • Use a mouthwash containing fluoride to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath overnight
  • Place a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist and prevent dry mouth, which can lead to morning breath
  • Avoid eating foods that cause bad breath, such as garlic or onions. If you must eat these foods, brush your teeth afterward to remove the odor-causing particles
  • Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar or acid before bedtime. These foods can promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth and lead to morning breath.
  • If you suspect gum disease and other dental issues, see your dentist immediately for treatment. Dental conditions are usually treated with a combination of professional cleanings and antibiotics.
  • Remove animal products. from the diet, Animal products contain high levels of sulfur, which is a major contributor to bad breath. When these products are digested, they release sulfur compounds into your mouth, where they can linger and cause odors. Switching from animal products can help reduce the amount of sulfur in your mouth and, as a result, improve your morning breath.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of fiber, which helps to clean the teeth and remove any food particles that may be stuck in them. They also contain antioxidants that help fight against the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Consider visiting your dentist at least twice a year. Plaque and tartar can build up on teeth over time, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other problems. Regular checkups and professional cleaning by a dentist can remove plaque and tartar and help prevent these issues.
  • If you think you may have any underlying medical condition causing bad breath, ensure you get checked for proper treatment.

Final Thoughts

Morning breath is a common problem that can be caused by a number of factors, including dry mouth, infections, and certain foods.

If you are concerned about your morning breath, it’s good to rule out any possible cause and manage it accordingly.

In addition, practice good oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth thoroughly before going to bed, avoiding certain foods and lifestyle habits that contribute to morning breath like smoking, and staying hydrated all day long.

By following these simple tips, you can help reduce or eliminate morning breath altogether.

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