Having a little bit of morning breath is normal and may not be a cause for alarm, but if you’ve noticed that your morning breath has gotten worse, or if it’s gotten more common and you can’t improve it, then you might want to consider it might be related to sleep apnea.
Linking Bad Breath and Sleep Apnea
Most morning breath is linked to dry mouth. Bacteria living in your mouth cause bad breath as they consume food and other sustenance in your mouth overnight. The growth of bacteria is hampered by your saliva, but if you develop dry mouth overnight, bacteria can flourish.
Snoring and sleep apnea can contribute to dry mouth because they are both forms of restricted breathing at night. In snoring, your airway is partially closed, whereas in sleep apnea, it becomes fully closed intermittently. In either case, you may open your mouth at night to try to increase airflow, which could dry out your mouth.
Is It Sleep Apnea or Another Cause?
Because sleep apnea has such serious consequences, it’s important to consider it as an explanation first. Consider whether you have other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as feeling sleepy during the day or waking up with a headache. Some health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are commonly associated with sleep apnea. And many people who snore have sleep apnea. If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
If you don’t think snoring or sleep apnea are the cause of morning breath, consider other causes of dry mouth. Smoking or allergies that lead to nasal congestion can also cause your mouth to dry out. You should also consider that poor oral hygiene before bed might leave more food for oral bacteria to turn into foul-smelling waste.