The research, to be published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, has shown that drinking or rinsing the mouth with a glass of water helped remove up to 60% of the substances that contribute to bad breath (Van der Sluijs et al, 2015).
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes; persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue.
Although this study has shown the positive effects of water, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is keen to highlight that there are more effective ways of beating morning breath.
Michaela ONeill, president of the BSDHT, explained: ‘A glass of water in the morning to help wash away bacteria that cause bad breath is a great way to start the day but people should not consider it the solution.
‘The best way to beat bad breath is to ensure that you have an effective oral health routine; this should involve brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
‘Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell; making sure you clean in between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss at least once a day can help to stop this.
‘Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, or use a tongue scraper, to help remove more bacteria.
‘A dental hygienist or someone dually qualified in dental hygiene and therapy can help give advice and tips on how to keep your mouth healthy.’
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, added: ‘There is a simple test that you can do if you think you may be suffering from bad breath. Just lick the inside of your wrist, wait for it tor dry and sniff – if the smell is bad, you can be fairly sure that your breath is too.
‘If you do have bad breath, try keeping a diary of all the foods you eat and list any medicines you are taking. Take this diary to your dentist or hygienist, who may be able to suggest ways to solve the problem.
‘If you suffer from persistent bad breath it is important that you do not just continuously cover it up as it can be the sign of more serious problems and you should visit the dental team as soon as possible.
‘The bacteria on our teeth and gums (called plaque) cause gum disease and tooth decay. One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
‘Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs; sinusitis; bronchitis; diabetes; or liver or kidney problems.
‘Make sure you visit your dentist or hygienist regularly, as often as they recommend, to help uncover these problems. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.
‘Water is an essential part of the diet and has many benefits for oral health so having a glass of water in the morning is a good idea; some areas in the UK have fluoridated water, which is hugely beneficial to oral health as it helps strengthen tooth enamel.’
Van der Sluijs E, Slot DE, Bakker EWP, Van der Weijden GA (2015) The effect of water on morning bad breath: a randomized clinical trial. Int J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jun 16. doi: 10.1111/idh.12149. [Epub ahead of print]