Why do I wake up with bad breath?

If you’re waking up in the morning with bad breath, the good news is that it’s very common. And the even better news? It’s completely preventable. 

We’ve all been there. The alarm goes off, and you’re awoken first by the noise, and second by the waft of your bad breath. Or, perhaps, it’s worse in the morning for your complaining partner!

While bad breath may be common, it’s certainly not normal. Most often, it’s an early sign of dental health problems. Bad breath happens for a number of reasons. Here, we’ll explain the top 3 causes of not-so-fresh breath that we see at our dental clinic in Blackburn.

3 Causes of Bad Breath

bad breath in the morning

Bad breath from Gum Infection

Bad breath is a common sign of gum disease. Gum disease sounds scary, but there are many ways to treat it and it’s never too late to visit the dentist. 

Gum disease occurs when plaque hasn’t been cleaned off teeth. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar, if left unchecked, can spread between and underneath the gums and cause the bone supporting teeth to dissolve away. 

In addition to bad morning breath, other common symptoms of gum disease are bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

Great brushing habits with your toothbrush and interdental brushes are vital to clearing off as much plaque as possible. But the only way to safely clean the hard buildup of tartar (that yellow stuff you can’t seem to scrub off) is with a dental clean. That’s why we recommend a dental check-up & clean every 6 months. Regular professional teeth cleans will remove the bad bacteria that cause gum disease and bad breath.

Gum disease can escalate much further than bad breath to severely damage your teeth. So if your breath isn’t smelling so good in the morning, consider it a reminder to go get a professional teeth clean at the dentist.

Book a Check Up & Clean at Whitehorse Dental today >

Not Brushing Your Tongue

If you’ve been to the dentist recently and still experiencing morning bad breath, the culprit could be your tongue. The entire surface of your tongue is covered in small grooves and bumps. This makes it a prime place for bacteria to get stuck in. 

Your tongue can harbour a lot of bacteria, which in turn can smell bad. With smelly foods, particles of it can get trapped on your tongue. This can take a while for it to come off your tongue naturally. 

To reduce these smells, you can give your tongue a quick brush as part of your daily teeth cleaning routine. The best thing for cleaning the tongue is a tongue scraper.

Related article: 5 Quick Tips on How to Brush Your Teeth Like a Dental Professional

Bad breath from Reflux at Night

If you have reflux or heartburn, you might find you wake up with bad breath. Because your body is lying down while sleeping, this may cause acid reflux to occur. This isn’t a condition we can diagnose or treat at the dentist, but ongoing reflux issues can also damage your teeth.

Reflux affects your teeth because it is highly acidic. Acid causes enamel — the protective layer on teeth —  to dissolve away. Once tooth enamel is gone, there’s no way to get it back. Worse, with no enamel, your teeth are extremely vulnerable to dental problems such as tooth decay and sensitive teeth.

If you’re experiencing acid reflux regularly, it’s worth seeing your GP. Doing so might save your breath, and many expensive trips to the dentist in the future.

Learn to love your enamel: here’s 3 simple ways to prevent enamel erosion >