Sex advice with Suzi Godson - His stale breath in the morning is a turn-off

My boyfriend likes sex in the morning. So do I, but I’m often conscious of my morning breath, and frankly his mouth doesn’t smell its best at that time either.

Morning breath affects nearly everyone to some degree, but morning sex is such an indulgent luxury that it would be a shame to allow it to interfere. Mornings are the optimum time for sex because you are both relaxed and snuggly. This makes it more sensual and less self-conscious, and this combination of disinhibition and sensuousness can make it much easier to achieve orgasm.

The issue that you mention sounds normal to me. Bad morning breath happens because of a build-up of foul-smelling sulphur compounds while you sleep. During the day these microscopic organisms are washed away by eating, drinking and normal saliva production, but as you sleep, your normal flow of saliva decreases and your mouth gradually begins to dry out.

By morning your mouth is bone dry and the crevices on your tongue and the recesses between your teeth and gums are coated in odour-producing bacteria.

This problem is even worse for people who snore, or who breathe through their mouth when they sleep, because the air going into their mouths dries them out even more effectively.

What you eat and drink during the day can affect your breath in the morning. The good news is that there are lots of practical things you and your boyfriend can do. Obviously avoiding garlic, spicy food, alcohol and cigarettes makes a big difference.

Drinking plenty of water during the day and choosing peppermint tea rather than coffee also helps.

One thing you could both try is eating a small portion of natural yoghurt every day. A study carried out at Tsurumi University in Yokohama, Japan, found that eating 180g of sugar-free traditional yoghurt every day reduced the levels of hydrogen sulphide (which makes breath smell) in the mouths of people who had bad breath by 80% in just six weeks.

Participants also had significantly less dental plaque than in the control group, who didn’t eat yoghurt.

Oral hygiene is obviously important too. Brushing your teeth properly for two minutes and flossing before bed will help — and there is no reason why you can’t both pop to the bathroom and brush your teeth in the morning, then dash back to bed.

However, the simplest way to get rid of funky morning breath is to keep a glass of water next to your bed. When you wake up you can then have a drink and rinse away some of the odiferous bacteria that has built up overnight.

Kissing is also helpful because it increases natural saliva production, which helps to wash away nasty-smelling compounds.

Philematology — the study of kissing — reveals that it is more than just an affectionate exchange, and evidence suggests that it is a way for couples to exchange sex hormones. Research by the evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup at the University of Albany in the US has shown that male testosterone is absorbed in a woman’s mouth during kissing.

This exchange of testosterone increases female arousal and makes it more likely that kissing will progress to sex. Women also have oestrogen in their saliva, so the same process may operate in reverse.

So there you have it — eat yoghurt, brush your teeth, have a morning drink of water, kiss lots and keep having morning sex. Problem solved.

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