Most people suffer from bad breath at some point in their lives. For example, it's not uncommon for your mouth to smell a bit bad first thing in the morning before you have had a chance to brush your teeth. A heavy garlicky meal the night before may even leave you with morning breath that could stun a frog at 20 paces.
While regular bad breath isn't usually anything to worry about, a change in the smell of your mouth may point to more serious oral health issues such as gum disease. When is bad breath a sign that you may need to have your dentist check out your gums?
You Don't Know Where Your Bad Breath Came From
Bad breath is often caused by triggers such as pungent food or smoking. It may also be due to side effects from a dry mouth which may be caused by alcohol or medications, according to the Better Health Channel.
So, if you've recently eaten a lot of food that contains smelly ingredients such as garlic or onions or if you're recovering from a big night out, then your bad breath is likely to have been triggered by these factors. If you can't pinpoint any usual suspects that may be behind your bad breath and you haven't suddenly taken up smoking or been prescribed a medication that may have this kind of side effect, you may need a dental check-up.
Your Bad Breath Won't Go Away
Typically, regular bad breath hangs around for a while and then goes away over time. For example, if you've eaten something that makes your breath smelly, the smell shouldn't linger much beyond the next day especially if your dental routine includes a twice-daily brush and floss.
However, if you just can't get rid of your bad breath and find that it is often accompanied by a constant bad taste in your mouth all of the time, the smell may come from an underlying dental trigger rather than diet or lifestyle issues.
Your Dental Hygiene Is Less Than Perfect
If you aren't great at remembering to clean and floss your teeth twice a day, then you're more likely to suffer from bad breath. A good cleaning routine cleans out the bacteria that gets stuck around your teeth that can cause your breath to smell.
If you've neglected your teeth for a few days, getting back into better habits may get rid of the smell. However, this may not work if you haven't been taking good care of your teeth generally. At this stage, not investing enough care into looking after your teeth and gums may have given you gum problems that are the main cause of your bad breath.
Your Gums Have Changed
If your bad breath is related to gum problems, you may see changes to your gums. For example, they may bleed when you brush them, may look red and may be swollen. Even if your gums look fine, there may be something going on that you can't spot and it's still worth stopping by your dental clinic for a check-up.