Our mother’s always told us to eat a good breakfast, and they were right, but most of them probably didn’t know the link between breakfast and bad breath. Experts agree that having something to eat before heading off to work or school does a lot to eliminate oral malodor. And beyond that, it gives you energy to get on with the day, keeps your blood sugar up, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. There are good reasons why we feel hungry when we get up in the morning.
So what’s the connection between breakfast and bad breath? First, our mouths tend to be quite dry when we wake because saliva production slows down while we sleep. Saliva is important for flushing the oral cavity and keeping oral bacteria in check: lack of it during the night explains why everyone tends to have halitosis in the morning. Eating causes a natural response of increased saliva production and gets the mouth flushing again at the start of the day. For extra saliva production, watermelon and celery are reported to be especially effective.
The underlying reason we have halitosis in the morning is that the reduction in saliva allows anaerobic bacteria that live in the mouth to multiply. These organisms, which release bad smelling gases, are found in the highest numbers in the grooves of the tongue at the back of the mouth. Many dentists and oral malodor specialists recommend brushing the tongue to keep the numbers of these bacteria down, and eating cereals and foods with a lot of fiber in them can also have a cleansing effect. Eat a whole grain breakfast and bad breath is less likely to be a problem for the rest of the day. It’s that simple.
A third connection between breakfast and bad breath has to do with the way the body produces energy, and also explains why people on low carbohydrate diets often have oral malodor. If there is no carbohydrate to digest, the body turns to breaking down fat instead. It helps to burn body fat but it also produces by-products of protein metabolism that are expelled on the breath. Thus the person who skips the morning meal is likely to have halitosis in the morning, and may notice it clearing up after they eat lunch.
It looks like eating a healthy breakfast really is good for us in a lot of different ways.