Few things kill the mood quite like morning dragon breath (MDB). Whether it’s a sulfurous odor, the stench of sweaty feet, or the deadly spoiled-milk-meets-doggie-diarrhea-combo, a stanky smelling mouth can spell the end of sexy times.
Although few admit (or even realize) they have MDB, nearly all of us have suffered from it at one time or another. That’s because while bad breath can have many causes, including gum disease, tobacco use, and even gastrointestinal issues, it’s most often the result of the very natural process of our salivary glands slowing down as we sleep.
“Saliva is nature’s way of protecting us from bad breath,” explained Dr. Harold Katz, a California-based bacteriologist known as “The Bad Breath Guru.” Healthy saliva, Katz said, contains high concentrations of oxygen, which is the natural enemy of bad breath-causing bacteria. The overnight saliva slowdown, combined with the habit of open-mouth sleeping that many of us are prone to, creates the perfect arid conditions that allow bacteria to multiply. In addition, more than 200 commonly prescribed medications—like antidepressants, heart pills, and painkillers—cause dry mouth as a side effect, said Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills. The drier the mouth, the stinkier the maw.
So, aside from chugging mouthwash the minute you arise, what can be done to combat MDB? Katz, Maddahi and three other dentists share their best fresh breath tips.