This is the reason your breath smells so bad in the morning

This is the reason your breath smells so bad in the morning

If you've ever had the pleasure of sharing a bed with someone, you've almost certainly also had the displeasure of waking up to that oh-so-familiar odor of 'morning breath'.

It doesn't matter whether or not you brushed your teeth the night before, how much alcohol you did or didn't have, or even if you consumed literally nothing other than breath mints and mouthwash the previous day; your breath is still going to smell like a week-old corpse when you wake up.

And this can get in the way of certain... activities. I mean, if someone can't even bear to talk to you, how are they going to cope with your stinky kisses - let alone put up with you climbing on top of them and breathing all over their face?

Yes, it's an issue that's probably prevented some of us from getting laid on at least one occasion, but at least we have an explanation for why we're afflicted with such gross-smelling mouths in the morning.

According to dentists, the answer lies in our saliva. Or, to be more accurate, the lack of it.

While we're awake, we produce a lot of saliva, which helps to break down food and eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Eating food, drinking water, and chewing gum can all help increase saliva production, and staying hydrated also helps keep bad breath at bay (unless you're constantly chugging coffee, of course).

However, when we sleep, saliva production slows down, leaving the mouth more prone to bacterial activity. This is also why we don't swallow as frequently while we're sleeping, and also why we don't wake up every morning on a pillow covered in drool (though it does happen occasionally).

Moreover, as many people snore or breathe through their mouths during the night, the increased intake of air through oral rather than nasal passages will dry out the mouth. This would also explain why a lot of us wake up every morning with a mouth like the Sahara Desert.

Of course, there is an upside to all this: it's totally normal. Most people suffer at least slight halitosis in the morning, and so it's nothing to be ashamed of.

That being said, there are some smelly symptoms you should keep an eye on. If your breath suddenly becomes a lot worse than usual or is significantly stronger than other people's, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem. Gum disease is often indicated by particularly bad mouth odors, and the same symptoms could also be indicators of an infection of a gastrointestinal problem.

Most of the time, however, having a bit of stale breath first thing in the morning is nothing to worry about, and can quickly be sorted with a thorough teeth-brushing, a spot of flossing, and a good swish of mouthwash.

And, if you're the kind of person who enjoys a wake-up kiss (or more), perhaps consider keeping a pack of gum on your bedside table. You never know when you might need it.