If you’ve noticed that your morning breath has gotten more foul recently, it could be a symptom of sleep apnea.

Man covering mouth due to bad breath

How Sleep Apnea, Snoring, and Bad Breath Are Linked

The primary cause of bad breath in the morning is dry mouth. Saliva is your natural antibiotic, and when your mouth is dried out, bacteria are able to flourish.

Your mouth naturally dries out a little at night because saliva production diminishes. But people with snoring or sleep apnea may experience more severe drying. That’s because your body might be trying to get more oxygen by breathing through your mouth at night. Snoring is caused by restricted airflow through your airway, anywhere from your nose to your throat. If your body feels it isn’t getting enough air, it might open your mouth to try to increase air flow. This doesn’t mean the primary restriction is in your nose, though it could be.

In sleep apnea, your breathing stops completely, and you will awaken just enough to open your airway. This may include clenching your jaw or it may include opening your mouth, since your jaw is the primary support for the soft tissues of your airway.

Breathing through your mouth speeds drying, resulting in worse morning breath.

Is It Sleep Apnea or Another Cause?

Since sleep apnea is a serious health threat, it’s important to eliminate it first. Check for other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as daytime tiredness or morning headaches. If you’ve been diagnosed with other health conditions that are related to sleep apnea, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about sleep apnea.

For snoring, ask your sleeping partner. The odds are good that they know if you snore (though they might sleep through it). If you sleep alone, some apps will allow you to record your own snoring.

If snoring or sleep apnea don’t seem to be a problem, consider other possible causes of morning breath, such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, allergies or medications that cause dry mouth.

If you are looking for comfortable, convenient way to reduce or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.