How Your Mouth Changes While You Sleep

Posted on 6/7/2021 by Thomas Wold, DMD
How Your Mouth Changes While You SleepIt is no secret that the mouth changes during sleep. This is why we wake up with bad breath, even if we went to sleep with a healthy smelling mouth. Bad breath is a result of the activity that happens in the mouth during sleep and overnight. If may feel like your body is shutting down, but it is actually hard at work. This overnight activity, however, is not good for the mouth, which is why the breath in the morning can be so awful.

What Happens Overnight?

While you're falling asleep, the body decreases saliva production. Saliva is crucial in keeping the mouth clean and healthy. As saliva production decreases, any food particles left in the mouth may stay there throughout the night. The bacteria in your mouth become more active, with less saliva to wash it away. Bacteria need to eat in order to survive and while you are sleeping, the bacteria are feeding on the proteins found in saliva and mucus, since there is no food to feed on. This is where the bad breath comes in. The breakdown of the proteins in the bacteria produces sulfur gasses, which by themselves smell like rotten eggs. These gases are emitted in the mouth overnight, causing the bad breath you smell when you wake up. You may also experience dry mouth as a result of reduces saliva.

How to Prevent Morning Breath

This is where bedtime oral hygiene routines become so important. It is the last chance you have before the unhealthy bacteria starts feeding inside your mouth without your control. Before bed, brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can limit the bad breath you smell the next morning.

While our body may seem like it is shutting down, there are things happening in our mouth. Because we are sleeping, there is nothing we can do to prevent this as it is happening, which is why taking care of your mouth before bed can be so helpful. If you have questions about morning breath, or would like recommendations for oral hygiene, please give our office a call.
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