Bad breath is medically known as halitosis, anybody can have it at any time. It occurs both in children and adults. Chronic bad breath in kids is usually caused by poor dental hygiene. Encouraging your child to brush her teeth each night before going to bed will help her to learn good oral hygiene practices. Regular brushing of the teeth is necessary for a developing teeth, it’s enough to stop bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene.
However, most children have strong mouth odor when they wake up in the morning. This is normal, the bad breath goes away after your child has cleaned her teeth. Morning bad breath isn’t anything to worry about, but if the bad breath persists or increases throughout the day then there may be other explanations for the bad breath. I don’t know if you have noticed that there are different smells of bad breath. Moreover, the smell of bad breath varies depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Respiratory Tract Infections and certain health problems can make your child’s breath to smell like poop. In my previous post I explained more on different smells of bad breath. You can check out the post here – smells of bad breath and their meaning.
Before the end of this article, I will reveal to you some of the common causes of bad breath in children. You will also learn about the available treatments that you can use to cure your child’s bad breath.
Causes of bad breath in children
There are numerous possible factors that can make your child’s breath to smell badly. Bad breath isn’t always solely an oral health issue, there are other factors that can contribute to bad breath. So, here are the common causes of bad breath in kids:
1. Poor Oral Hygiene: your child’s bad breath may be as a result of not taking proper care of her teeth, gums and tongue. The tongue and gums tend to harbor odor-causing bacteria when they are not cleaned properly via regular brushing and flossing. You should try as much as possible to encourage your child to keep up with good oral hygiene, if you suspect that her bad breath is from there.
2. Sinusitis (Sinus Infection): sinusitis is a nasal infection, it causes inflammation of the sinuses and blockage of air passage in the nose. If your child experiences frequent cases of sore throat, burning nasal passages, post nasal drip and chronic bad breath, then sinusitis might be responsible. Sinusitis causes mucus and nasal fluids to collect in the nasal passages and throat, this makes your child more vulnerable to serious nasal and throat infections. Luckily, sinusitis can be treated with the use of suitable antibiotics.
3. Swollen Tonsils: the tonsils are small masses of lymphoid tissue that are found at the top part of the throat. Their main function is to protect the body against infection. Healthy tonsils are always pink and spot-free. In some cases the tonsils can get infected and Inflamed. When infected, the tonsils become red, inflamed, have white spots and produces tons of foul smelly gasses.
At home, you can conduct an examination yourself self in order to check if your child’s bad breath is from there. Get a flashlight and have a look at the tonsils at the peek of your child’s mouth. If the tonsils are red or swollen with white spots, don’t hesitate to have your pediatrician examine them. The pediatrician can also prescribe suitable antibiotics for treatments.
4. Dry mouth (Xerostomia): dry mouth is a health condition when the body is not producing enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. The saliva has natural properties that makes it effective for maintaining a healthy oral pH balance. It plays a significant role in the prevention of bad breath. Bad breath due to dry mouth is very common in kids. Kids that don’t get enough water, produces less saliva for washing away odor-causing bacteria.
Apart from bad breath, low production and flow of saliva in the mouth can lead to serious dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and cavities. If your child have not been taking enough water, ensure to encourage her drink water regularly.
5. Foreign Objects: although, this particular possible cause is usually overlooked. But seriously, do you know that your child’s bad breath could be the result of something stuck in her nasal passages? (1) In some cases, out of curiosity kids can block their nasal passage with a small foreign object. According to Dr. William Sears, the Insertion of small items such as tiny toys, food particles, beads or beans can create a nasty smell. If you suspect that your child’s bad breath is as a result of a foreign object lodged in the nose, a doctor can help to check your child’s nasal passages and remove the object if there is any.
6. Gum disease and tooth decay: There are certain oral problems that can lead to bad breath. Oral issues such as: cavities, gum disease, mouth ulcers and oral infections can make your child’s breath to smell badly. The smell that can come from tooth decay and other oral infections are usually very difficult to go away. Even with best brushing and oral hygiene habits, if you did not address the actual cause of the problem, the bad breath will still come back.
Ways to prevent bad breath in kids
- Your child should brush her teeth as well as floss, for at least two times a day. Antibacterial toothpastes and mouthwash are highly recommended in order to prevent bacteria buildups in the mouth. Encourage brushing after meals so that food particles won’t have any chance to linger around the mouth.
- Also make sure that you child clean here tongue thoroughly during brushing. Lots of odor-causing bacteria can accumulate on the tongue even through a good tooth brushing, so make sure that it’s cleaned too.
- Ensure that your child is always hydrated. Drinking enough water each day will help to increase saliva production. Saliva plays a significant role in the prevention of bad breath by washing away food debris and bacteria in the mouth.
- Take your child regularly to the dentist for proper oral examinations. Regular checkups and professional dental cleanings by a dentist is very necessary, as it can help to prevent oral problems and bad breath.