While brushing and flossing are important ways to maintain good dental health, they may not always eliminate bad breath. A study conducted at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center determined that brushing reduces morning halitosis less than simply eating meal.
Findings published in the Journal of Dental Research indicate that the underlying agent of early morning oral odor is sulfur. Using gas chromatography, a process that separates exhaled air into its constituent molecules, researchers found that participants who slept with their mouths open had high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol, and dimethylsulfide on their breath.
After brushing, these volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) had hardly dissipated. Eating breakfast was more likely to eliminate some of these molecules than brushing one's teeth.
However, the study's authors did not suggest replacing the morning dental routine with food consumption. They found that swishing with a simple mouth rinse designed to neutralize VSCs significantly reduced oral odor for eight full hours.
Similar studies have found that sulfuric compounds can persist in the mouth for long periods of time. These molecules are created by anaerobic oral microbes, which thrive on a dry tongue and palate.
Beyond brushing, rinsing with a specialty breath freshener may minimize the smell of halitosis in the morning.