How Sleep Can Make Your Breath Stink

Sleeping on your back might be the reason you have to pop Altoids like a fresh breath-seeking fiend. It may sound strange, but the position your head is angled at when you sleep can affect how your breath smells in the morning.

For example, sleeping on your back forces gravity to pull the jaw downward, causing you to breath through your mouth, rather than your nose. When this happens, saliva production is slowed. "Saliva is the natural cleanser in the mouth that rinses away the bad bacteria," says New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS.

Smigel, who points out that saliva production, which naturally slows while sleeping (despite what the drool on your pillow might suggest), is at its lowest when you breathe through your mouth. "If you sleep on your back, you swallow less, which is why I tell patients they should sleep in a position where the tongue doesn't have a chance to revert backwards and cause the mouth to open-like on your stomach or side."

So what's the solution? Well, besides just good ol' fashioned sleep adjustment, you can have a mouth guard made by your dentist. All your dentist has to do is take molds of your teeth to create a custom mouth guard. These plastic trays, which are commonly used to stop involuntary tooth grinding, slip over your teeth and prevent you from sleeping with your mouth open by repositioning the tongue and jaw.

Would you use a mouth guard to prevent bad morning breath?

To read other ways to fight bad breath, make sure to see the latest issue of NewBeauty magazine, on newsstands now.

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