If only life resembled a rom-com. You’d wake up next to your soulmate, your hair mussed into the perfect bed-head and roll over for a kiss to end all kisses. In reality, however, even if you’ve got the soulmate in place, your awful, awful breath will probably put a damper on any morning make-out sesh you might have in mind. And while Rachel McAdams might never have to contend with morning breath (at least not on-screen), it is actually possible to prevent it IRL with a few microbe-battling tricks and technologies. Ahead, nine products that let you coyly whisper “I woke up like this,” without knocking out your bedmate with terrible breath.
The root cause of morning breath is a colony of bacteria that took up residence in your mouth and fed on whatever they could scrounge while you slept, wafting off the sulfur smell you ID as bad breath. A pro-strength, microbe-fighting toothpaste is the first step in getting their squatters’ rights revoked.
TheraBreath PLUS Maximum Strength Fresh Breath Toothpaste, Pack of 2
Of course, to really get the job of brushing done, you need some muscle, and it comes in the form of an electric toothbrush. I’ve tried a number of them over the years and this one just seems to work best at pulling out those microscopic bits of dinner lurking around teeth with almost no effort. A tip I once learned from an electric toothbrush designer (yes, that is a job): Don’t move your electric toothbrush back and forth as you would an old school version. Instead, lightly focus the head over a single tooth, hold for 4 seconds then move onto the next, working your way around.
Braun Oral-B Pro 7500 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
This ingenious floss uses some engineering trickery to puff out the thread when you pull it taut, giving it a wider girth that does a better job of pulling out any bits of food hiding out between gums. Plus it smells like cardamom, which is a nice change from standard mint.
Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss
Bacteria doesn’t just loiter around the teeth but also on the tongue’s velvety surface. This swoops those microbes right off, stopping their all night party before it even kicks off.
Banyan Botanicals Ayurvedic Tongue Cleaner Scraper
If you’re really serious about waking up with breath that smells like you weren’t snoring open-mouthed all night, take a cue from Gwyneth and do an oil pulling session, which involves swishing a tablespoon of naturally antibacterial coconut oil around in your mouth for 15 minutes (yes, this practice is a bit time consuming) to rid yourself of microbes. I’m usually a little skeptical of this kind of thing, but in my experience it does actually work pretty well—though with the obvious downside of having to spend a quarter hour with a mouth full of coconut oil.
Sky Organics Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Another cause of morning breath is dehydration, and have you ever not woken up with a dry mouth? Saliva is high in oxygen which, counterintuitive as it might sound, smothers rather than breathes life into bacteria. Keeping a carafe of water on your nightstand lets you hydrate at night—especially important if you downed more than your fair share of margaritas before bed.
CB2 Cora Carafe
Okay, so you’ve slept through the night but still worry your breath isn’t as fresh as you’d hoped—and maybe there’s a new person in your bed who hasn’t yet realized that you’re also a real human who sometimes has bad breath. In that case, a pack of xylitol gum in your bedside is just a quick reach away. Oh, look! It’s right there next to the condoms.
Glee Peppermint Gum, Pack of 12
Or...run to the bathroom, do a fast brushing and then finish with a chaser of mouthwash. It’s a quick fix that disguises your breath with a more pleasant peppermint one. The effects of an alcohol-free version last longer as well, since, as any occasional boozer knows, alcohol dries out the mouth.
Squeaky Clean Mouthwash
More of a long-game solution, downing probiotics helps repopulate the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut and mouth, which then overpower the bad microbes. This is only for the dedicated: You’ll need to take the tablets for a few weeks before you see (smell?) any effects.
Hyperbiotics Pro-Dental Chewable Probiotic Tablets
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