wikiHow to Get Rid of Morning Breath

Three Parts:Practicing Good Oral HygieneEating the Right WayMaintaining a Breath-Friendly Lifestyle

Who doesn’t hate waking up with a mouth full of smelly, yucky breath? Morning breath, a form of halitosis, results from a decrease in saliva during the course of the night, which creates an environment for bacteria to flourish. Everyone suffers from morning breath at least some of the time, and while it’s unlikely that you’ll ever wake up with a mouth that smells like a fresh bunch of flowers, there are steps you can take to tame the morning breath beast.

Part 1
Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

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    Brush your teeth often. You should brush your teeth in the morning and right before bed, as well as after every meal. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and brush for two minutes.
    • It may be a good idea to invest in an electric toothbrush, as these are more effective than manual brushes at removing plaque and bacteria. In addition, most have timers that will help make sure you brush for the recommended two minutes.[1]
    • Consider keeping a travel toothbrush and tube of toothpaste with you when you are at work or school so that you can maintain your brushing regimen throughout the day.
    • Replace your toothbrush every three months and after every time you are sick.[2]
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    Brush your tongue. After finishing with your teeth, run the bristles of your brush over your tongue as well. Or, if the back of your toothbrush has a rubberized tongue scraper, you can use this on your tongue instead. This practice will remove the odor-causing cells and bacteria from your tongue, just like brushing your teeth does for your pearly whites.[3]
    • You can also buy an inexpensive tool called a tongue scraper at most drug stores.
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    Floss daily. Floss reaches between teeth where a toothbrush cannot, allowing you to remove food that would otherwise remain stuck there for bacteria to feed upon and grow on.
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    Gargle with mouthwash. Mouthwash can also reach areas of your mouth that a toothbrush can’t—on the insides of your cheeks and at the back of your throat, for example—allowing you to get rid of bacteria that otherwise would have remained in your mouth and contributed to bad breath. Use the amount specified on your bottle, and swish in your mouth for 30–60 seconds. [4]
    • Since alcohol is a drying agent, and a dry mouth creates an environment for bacteria, chose a non-alcoholic mouthwash.[5]
    • If a dental problem is to blame for your morning breath, then mouthwash will actually mask the problem rather than aid in curing it.[6] It’s very important, therefore, that you see your dentist regularly to rule out any underlying cause of mouth odors.
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    Try antimicrobial toothpastes and mouthwashes. If brushing with regular toothpaste and flossing prove insufficient, you may want to try out dental products that are specifically designed for eliminating the germs and microbes that build up in your mouth overnight.
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    Visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental checkups are an important part of any good oral hygiene routine, and if you are experiencing trouble with morning breath, your dentist may be able to determine if it’s being caused by underlying problem such as a cavity, an infection in your mouth, or acid reflux.[7]

Part 2
Eating the Right Way

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    Consume a healthy, balanced diet. Food has a significant impact on your breath: As it is digested, the food that you eat is absorbed into your bloodstream and eventually exhaled by your lungs, which means the food odours come out of your mouth when you breathe. Foods like garlic, onions and spicy foods can lead to morning breath.[8]
    • Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet that helps to keep bad breath at bay.
    • Try chewing a sprig of parsley to freshen your breath. This herb contains chlorophyll, which helps remove odors from the breath.[9]
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    Avoid low-carb diets and extreme fasting. These modes of eating are no-no’s when it comes to friendly breath. When you don’t consume enough carbohydrates, your body shifts to breaking down fat at a high rate; this leads to the production of ketones and the phenomenon known as “ketone breath,” which is another way of saying “stinky”![10]
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    Eat breakfast. Eating stimulates saliva production, which in turn wets the mouth and creates an inhospitable environment for foul-smelling bacteria.[11] Get an early start on the fight against morning breath and eat breakfast first thing in the a.m.
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    Switch from coffee to tea. Coffee has a very strong aroma that lingers in your mouth, and is difficult to brush off the very back of your tongue. For a quick pick-me-up with a less offensive smell, try tea in an herbal or green variety.[12]

Part 3
Maintaining a Breath-Friendly Lifestyle

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    Stop smoking. Tobacco dries your mouth out and can raise the temperature of your mouth—both of these things contribute to bad breath by allowing bacteria to flourish.[13]
    • Smoking also increases the risk of gum decay, and a mouth with unhealthy gums is a mouth more prone to bad breath!
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    Drink responsibly. Alcohol dries out the mucous membranes, so if you’re going to consume it, especially in the evening, you should try to drink one glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage—this way, you’re keeping your mouth moist.[14]
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    Stay hydrated. Bacteria flourish in dry, stagnate environments, so drinking lots of water and other fluids throughout the day helps to stave off odors in your mouth the next morning.
    • It is especially important to drink water right before going to bed, as the mouth dries out a lot over the course of the night when we’re sleeping and not consuming any food or fluids for many hours.
    • Aim for eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day.[citation needed] If you aren't able to drink that much, supplement with milk or 100% fruit juice as necessary.[citation needed]
    • Owing to their high water content, fruits and vegetables offer another great source of hydration, in addition to water. Beyond this, the high fiber content of vegetables helps flush your body of toxins that may contribute to morning breath.[15]
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    Chew sugarless gum. Xylitol, the sweetener used in a lot of sugar-free gum products (and mints), can decrease bacteria that causes decay and bad breath.[citation needed] And flavored gum with Xylitol will not only help to eliminate bacteria that causes odor—it will also give your breath a scent of your choosing.
    • Chewing gum twenty minutes after you eat might help to stimulate saliva flow.[16]
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    Consider your medications. Some medications, such as insulin, can cause bad breath on their own, while others, like antihistamines, cause your mouth to dry out overnight, and lead to morning breath that way.[17] If you have concerns about any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you’re taking, talk to your doctor.
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    Rinse out the mouth in the morning. Take rubbing alcohol put it in a cup, then mix it with water and drink it. Swish it around in your mouth like mouth rinse (you can use mouth rinse instead of, if preferred), then spit it out. Be sure to have a cup full of just water, then after you spit it out, swish the water in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat as necessary.


  • Since morning breath is borne of a dry mouth, if you wake in the middle of the night, try drinking some water or swishing water around for a few seconds to wet your mouth.[18]
  • Snoring increases your risk of having morning breath. This is because breathing through your mouth all night will cause it to dry out even more.[19]
  • Xerostomia, the name for dry mouth, can cause morning breath.[citation needed] This condition may be the result of something as simple as breathing through your mouth or not drinking enough water, or it may have a medical root, such as salivary gland problems or connective tissue disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome.[20]
  • Sucking on ice or eating bananas or peanut butter might be helpful.


  • Children often sleep much longer than adults and so can wake up with particularly foul-smelling breath. If your child has other symptoms of illness along with bad breath, however, you should take him or her to the pediatrician to be sure there’s not an underlying problem, such as tonsillitis.

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