How To: Combat Morning Breath
Fri, 25 October 2013 9:00AM
Okay so it’s not the sexiest of topics, but morning breath is definitely a thing – and a crap thing at that. I’m REALLY hoping you know what I’m talking about and I’m not the only one who suffers from it occasionally, because that would be extremely awkward and I might be forced to leave the country and live on a deserted island with Lindsay Lohan’s character in Mean Girls (who also admitted to having a morning breath…er…situation).
Lindsay circa her Mean Girls era
If you ever wake up in the morning wondering what crawled into you mouth and died, you’ve definitely clicked on the right post (and that was possibly the grossest sentence I’ve ever typed in my life. Sorry). So what causes morning breath and how the heck do you send it back to fiery pits from whence it came? Leading dentist and Oral-B spokesperson Dr. Christopher Ho, has the answers.
“There are a few things that can cause bad morning breath – otherwise known as halitosis. One of the most common causes is ‘dry mouth.’ Saliva helps to break down bacteria and wash away food particles left in the mouth during the day. At night, the level of saliva can decrease resulting in ‘dry mouth’ where the bacteria left behind sticks around, leaving a bad smell in your mouth in the morning,” says Christopher.
So what can be done about it? Thankfully, plenty:
1. Rethink your diet
As you might have sussed out already, food and drink can have a huge impact on your breath. “Foods that include garlic and onions not only linger in the mouth, but also are absorbed into the bloodstream – which then escapes when you exhale. Drinking lots of coffee or alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on the mouth, which means it reduces the saliva levels and allows bad smelling bacteria to linger,” says Christopher.
Fresh fruit and veggies are breath-friendly options, but water is even more important. “Stay hydrated throughout the day and night to help wash away any excess bacteria that may be stuck to your teeth and help compensate for the lack of saliva while you sleep.”
2. Dental hygiene ≠ optional
A lazy 30-second session with your toothbrush isn’t going to cut it. If you’re going to nix morning breath, you have to make a solid effort. “Make sure you adopt a good oral care routine of brushing your teeth for two minutes and flossing [particularly before going to bed] to help eliminate the bacteria and food particles between your teeth and along the gum line,” says Christopher.
Mouthwash is also handy. “Using an oral mouthwash is an important step in helping to reduce plaque. It can also be effective for maintaining good oral hygiene and fresh breath. However, mouthwash alone will not completely combat the plaque and bacteria causing your bad breath. For a successful at-home oral care regime, also ensure that you floss daily as well as brushing for two minutes, twice a day.”
3. Show your tongue some TLC
You know those weird little rubbery nodules on the back of many toothbrush heads? They’re tongue cleaners, and they’re here to help. “Bad breath can often be caused by bacteria on the tongue and decaying food debris on the back of the tongue. Mints, mouthwashes, gum or spray might temporarily mask odours, however regular tongue brushing is an effective way to help prevent bad breath caused from bacteria on the tongue,” says Christopher.
4. Invest in an electric toothbrush
Unless you have a perfect brushing technique, it’s worth forking out the extra cash for a power toothbrush because they remove way more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush. Try the new Oral-B 7000 Black, $299.99, from Shaver Shop.
4. Make friends with mint
Sugar-free gum and mints can help keep your breath fresh throughout the day, but for a more glamourous option, pop on a mint-infused gloss. Try Australis Mint Condition Lip Gloss, $8.95, from pharmacies, or Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 in Mint, $12, from department stores.
Do you suffer from morning breath Primpers? C’mon, ‘fess up…