Kissing with "morning breath"

Originally Published: May 24, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 11, 2008
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Dear Alice,

I long to be able to spend the night in the arms of my boyfriend but I'm too embarrassed to do so because I've noticed how unpleasant my breath smells in the morning. I've read your previous advice on this subject, but both my dental and general health are excellent (I've had recent checkups), and I clean my teeth and drink water before bed. How can I ever wake him with a kiss? I can't spend my life destined to leap out of bed before he wakes to clean my teeth! Please help me — I'm desperate for advice.

—Longing to wake to a kiss

Dear Longing to wake to a kiss,

It is difficult to enjoy the romance of sleepovers with your significant other when you are worried about unbecoming mouth odor in the morning. Although it sounds like you already practice oral health habits that would limit your chances of awaking your boyfriend with dragon breath, here are a couple of additional breath and spirit-refreshing ideas that you did not mention:

  • Continue to drink plenty of water throughout the day as well as right before bed to prevent bad breath from dehydration.
  • Experiment with cutting out coffee, other strong drinks, or pungent foods (like onions or garlic) to see if your breath improves.
  • If you're not doing so already, brush your teeth with toothpaste and floss before you go to bed. Or try adding a minty mouthwash to your routine. This can prevent food particles from stewing for eight hours and adding to normal A.M. smells.
  • Similarly, how about stowing some toothpaste, mints, or a piece of gum at your bedside? Then, when you wake up, you can pop one in and lay one on without ever leaving the mattress.
  • You could also keep your mouth closed if a peck on the cheek or mouth is the extent of your wake-up call.

Sacrificing the rewards from nights in your boyfriend's arms because of natural oral odor seems like a very high price to pay. "Morning breath" is about as common as bed-head, so a little mouth-to-mouth talk with your partner about your concerns probably won't come as a distasteful surprise to him, and just might help to clear your mind, too. Who knows, your beau's morning breath might make you think your breath smells fresh and clean! Whatever you come up with as an oral solution, discussing your fears may limit your need to arise early to brush.

Alice

July 16, 2004

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Alice,

You mentioned drinking water before bed. Why not keep some by the bed to drink in the morning? I have found that, barring really foul breath, most morning breath is greatly helped just by...

Alice,

You mentioned drinking water before bed. Why not keep some by the bed to drink in the morning? I have found that, barring really foul breath, most morning breath is greatly helped just by drinking a little water. Also, I had concerns similar to yours — and very much wanted to be able to kiss my boyfriend upon waking up in his arms — until I realized that both of us had morning breath! And, although not ideal, this is sort of like both eating garlic — neither of you really notices it that much after the first few seconds. At least not enough to keep you from kissing your honey until you get a chance for your morning freshen-up.