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Waking up with bad breath is normal, however, morning breath can be unpleasant – particularly for a potential partner you're sharing the bed with.

And although it's very common, it's important to be aware that bad breath can be caused by medical conditions like dry mouth, tonsillitis and acid reflux.

The medical term for bad breath is halitosis, long term effects of taking sertraline which describes chronic bad breath that does not go away.

There are a number of causes for bad morning breath. Here cosmetic dentist and clinical lead at Waldron Dental, Sundeep Patel explains seven causes and how to treat it.

Dry mouth

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Having a dry mouth is one of the main causes for bad breath.

“Your mouth gets dry during the night as saliva flow is reduced,” explains Sundeep.

“Saliva helps to protect the body against bacteria and as it drops more bacteria can grow in through.

“That's why it is most important to brush at night and more so than in the morning.”


Closely linked to dry mouth, drinking alcohol at night dehydrates the body and saliva.

Sandeep added: “Even though it's a liquid, alcohol can be one of the worst things for bad breath.

“After a night out if you wake up and notice a nasty taste in the mouth and bad breath, this is because your body and mouth is dehydrated from the alcohol consumption and this means less saliva production.

“Alcohol can lead to dry mouth and when your mouth is considerably dry it can promote bacteria to grow which increases the chances of bad breath.”

Eating stinky foods

Certain foods like garlic, onions, even sometimes plain yogurt ferments in the body with the later result being a smelly breath.

“Onion and garlic contain sulfur compounds which means that distinctive smells are released when they are cut or mashed,” said Sandeep.

“This strong sulfur ingredient only means that when ingested it can linger in the mouth, on the tongue and between the teeth.

“Dairy can also produce bad morning breath, this is because the natural bacteria from your tongue feeds on the amino acids in milk and cheeses, this then means the odour that is left in your mouth after ingesting can often smell unpleasant. “

According to Sandeep, other causes for your bad breath in the morning include:

  • Bad oral hygiene
  • An underlying health condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Mouth infections
  • Tobacco products

How can you prevent bad morning breath?

When asked how a person can help reduce their morning breath, Sandeep answered: “Ensuring you have a thorough oral routine in place, brushing your teeth twice a day with a proper fluoride toothpaste, using mouthwash twice a day and flossing after each meal to ensure any food debris are removed from the teeth.

“It's also Important to clean your tongue and teeth at night, as some breath issues come from the tongue. “

Usually, there is no need to worry about waking up with morning breath.

However, if a person finds that their morning breath is not going away with conventional treatments, such as improving dental hygiene and keeping their mouth from becoming dry, they may need to seek advice from a dentist.

  • Health issues

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