August 17, 2022 3 min read

Chronically bad breath, medically known as halitosis, affects 50-60% of the population. In 85% of all cases, bad breath is caused by problems in the oral cavity, either due to poor oral hygiene or a dry mouth due to changes in salivary flow. 


Because snoring is a well-known cause of dry mouth, especially in the morning, could it also be the reason for your morning dragon breath? Keep reading to find out.

How Snoring Dries Out the Mouth

Snorers often sleep with their mouths wide open due to an obstructed upper airway. Naturally, this obstruction makes it hard for the body to get air in. In that struggle, your nervous system may force your mouth open while you sleep to get air in. Because the mouth wasn’t built to remain open during respiration, breathing this way can quickly dry out the mucous membranes in the oral cavity  


Another reason you may develop dry mouth from oral breathing is that mouth breathing causes dehydration. According to a 2006 study published inRhinology, mouth breathing can lead to a whopping 42% greater net water loss compared to nasal breathing.

How a Dry Mouth Causes Bad Breath

You probably know that saliva helps you chew and swallow food. But did you know that saliva also plays a part in your oral health? Saliva helps eliminate food particles, balances oral pH, neutralizes acids, and helps remineralize teeth. 


When you don’t produce enough saliva or you dry out your saliva too quickly, the health and integrity of your oral cavity change for the worse. Bad bacteria start to multiply and cause plaque and even cavities. It is these bad bacteria that are responsible for that unpleasant morning breath many people struggle with.


Even more specifically, these bacteria break down protein and produce sulfur as a byproduct. Sulfur has a notable “rotten egg” smell that’s very unpleasant.  Most of these bacteria accumulate at the back of your tongue, but some may multiply along your gums. 

How to Stop Snoring for Better Oral Health

Most snoring is benign and easy to manage at home. But in some cases, snoring is the first symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious condition that requires medical attention. If you suffer only from simple and occasional snoring that happens to cause you bad breath, follow these tips to see if things improve: 


Limit alcohol and sedatives before bedtime

Many snorers tend to have worsened snoring after a drink or two, or when taking sedatives. That’s because both make the muscles in the upper airway relax too much, thus making the airways collapse in on themselves. 


Treat allergies or sinus infections

If you have a chronically obstructed nose, you will end up breathing through the mouth throughout the day and at night. And if you frequently breathe through the mouth, your chances of snoring are higher. 


Try side sleeping 

People who sleep in the supine position are more likely to snore. That’s because gravity is more likely to contribute to upper airway collapsibility in this position. Try to train yourself to sleep on your side by placing a pillow behind you every night.


Lose weight if overweight

One large, 5-year follow-up trial found that losing just 5% of excess weight can lead to an 80% improvement if you snore or have sleep apnea. So, if your snoring is made worse by carrying around extra weight, mild weight loss can make a huge difference.


Consider using an oral appliance 

Unlike all of the above, oral appliances such as theGood Morning Snore Solution tongue-stabilizing device can stop snoring instantly. These convenient medical devices prevent snoring by keeping the tongue from falling back and blocking airflow. They’re also convenient, affordable, and relatively comfortable.


References:

Motta LJ, Bachiega JC, Guedes CC, Laranja LT, Bussadori SK. Association between halitosis and mouth breathing in children.Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011;66(6):939-942.doi:10.1590/s1807-59322011000600003


Svensson S, Olin AC, Hellgren J. Increased net water loss by oral compared to nasal expiration in healthy subjects. Rhinology. 2006;44(1):74-77.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16550955/#:~:text=Conclusion%3A%20This%20study%20showed%20that,tidal%20breathing%20in%20healthy%20subjects.


Llena-Puy C. The rôle of saliva in maintaining oral health and as an aid to diagnosis.Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2006;11(5):E449-E455.https://scielo.isciii.es/pdf/medicorpa/v11n5/en_15.pdf


Feller L, Blignaut E. Halitosis: a review.SADJ. 2005;60(1):17-19.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15861957/#:~:text=Halitosis%2C%20or%20bad%20breath%2C%20is,in%20the%20expired%20oral%20breath.


Tuomilehto H, Seppä J, Uusitupa M, et al. The impact of weight reduction in the prevention of the progression of obstructive sleep apnea: an explanatory analysis of a 5-year observational follow-up trial.Sleep Med. 2014;15(3):329-335.doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2013.11.786



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