When Morning Breath Lasts All Day

woman covers mouth with hand to mask bad breath

When it comes to your dental health, timing is everything. For instance, if your breath is less than fresh when you wake up in the morning, it’s probably nothing to worry about. However, if your breath is bad throughout the rest of the day despite brushing and flossing your teeth, then you might want to visit Dr. James Fondriest to find out why. Morning breath is natural because the cause behind it (the accumulation of oral bacteria) is natural. Yet, after brushing away those bacteria, any lingering mouth odors are likely caused by something else that might prove to be a bigger threat to your overall oral health.

What Causes Morning Breath?

Bacteria are a natural part of your oral anatomy. In fact, a typical human mouth contains over 600 different identifiable kinds at any given moment. When you sleep, these bacteria accumulate on your teeth, gums, and tongue at an accelerate rate thanks to the reduction in your saliva. By the time you wake up, all kinds of oral bacteria have gathered in force inside of your mouth, including those that prefer your tongue’s surface and are responsible for mouth odors.

What Might Be Causing Your Chronic Morning Breath

The problem with oral bacteria is that some of them can be particularly harmful to your oral health in large numbers. For instance, certain kinds can erode your tooth structure and lead tooth decay, others can infect your gum tissues and lead to gum disease. When a dental issue develops from excess bacteria, chronic morning breath can be a characteristic symptom. If your mouth odors don’t go away after cleaning away the previous night’s bacteria, then you should schedule a dental examination with your general dentist before it grows worse.

Other Conditions that Can Cause Bad Breath

In addition to dental caries (decay) and gum disease, there are other reasons why bad breath may become persistent.

Ill-Fitting Oral Appliances

Poorly fitting dental appliances, such as dentures, can harbor bacteria in hard-to-reach places. As a result, odors can develop.

Oral Yeast Infections

Additionally, oral yeast infections (thrush) can also lead to halitosis. Candida is a type of fungus that lives in the human body. In small amounts, candida is normal. However, if it grows out of control, it can cause white or yellow patches on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of mouth, and inner cheeks. This condition is more likely in patients:

  • With diabetes
  • Who wear dentures
  • Undergoing cancer treatment
  • Who take wide-spectrum antibiotics or corticosteroids


One of the most common causes of persistent morning breath is xerostomia – or chronic dry mouth. Saliva is essential for optimal oral health. In addition to providing moisture for the mouth, it also neutralizes acids produced by plaque and washes away dead cells that have accumulated on the oral soft tissues. If these dead cells are not removed, they decompose and cause bad odors.

Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications or health-related problems. Other causes include chronic open-mouth breathing and salivary gland issues.

Health Problems Associated with Mouth Odors

In addition to oral health issues, persistent mouth odors can also indicate of a host of other medical conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Postnasal drip
  • Bronchitis, pneumonia, or other respiratory tract infections
  • Chronic sinus infections

For this reason, it is extremely important to identify the root cause of chronic bad breath. Addressing the problem sooner rather than later can help you avoid more complex health issues. If you suspect any of the above issues are causing mouth odors, schedule a visit with your general dentist.

How to Treat Persistent Morning Breath

If mouth odors are due to medical issues like the ones mentioned above, you should seek advice from your doctor. However, if the problem is due to poor hygiene, there are treatments available. Of course, the most appropriate treatment will depend on your specific circumstances.

Your dentist may recommend a number of treatments, which could include:

  • Improved home hygiene: Sometimes it really is that simple. If you’ve been neglecting your oral health, some improvements in brushing and flossing can make a world of difference.
  • Dental prophylaxis: Morning breath often occurs when you wait too long between regular dental cleanings. A cleaning with your hygienist can eliminate the problem.
  • Scaling and root planing: Persistent mouth odors that quickly returns after brushing and flossing may be due to gum disease. When bacteria is too far beneath the gum, it cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. In these cases, your need a deep cleaning.
  • Periodontal therapy: Some cases of gum disease are too severe to be treated with scaling and root planing. If bad breath is due to gum disease, Dr. Fondriest will likely refer you to a trusted periodontist.
  • Restorative dentistry: Oftentimes, mouth odors are due to tooth decay. It’s important to address this problem soon, so you don’t compromise the health of other teeth. Your dentist can gently remove the decay and restore the affected tooth.
  • Fluoride treatments: If you’re prone to decay, fluoride treatments can be successful in the fight against cavities and mouth odors.

Got Morning Breath?

Your breath is bad in the morning because of oral bacteria that gather at night. If it continues after your morning hygiene routine, then there may be a more serious reason. Curing it may require professional care from your dentist. To find out how serious your halitosis is and how best to treat it, schedule a consultation by calling us at 847-234-0517. In addition to the Chicago metropolitan area, we also proudly serve residents of the North Shore and Northwest suburbs.