Why Does My Child's Breath Smell Bad?

Why Does My Child's Breath Smell Bad?

While it’s normal to wake up with a case of morning breath, if your child’s bad breath doesn’t dissipate once they brush their teeth and have their first meal of the day, this could be a sign of an underlying oral health problem. Read on in this article from Acacia Dental Care, LLC to learn about the different causes of foul breath and what you can do about it.

What Causes Bad Breath in Children?

While there are many potential causes of bad breath, including eating smelly foods, having a dry mouth, taking certain medications, and having an underlying health condition or infection, the most common reason for bad breath in children is poor oral hygiene. 

The medical term for bad breath as a result of poor oral hygiene is halitosis. Bad breath is considered halitosis when the foul smell is chronic, lingering day after day even after your child brushes their teeth. 

If your child fails to regularly brush and floss, this will lead to plaque buildup around the gum line. Plaque forms when bacteria in your child’s mouth mix with sugar and aren’t brushed away. This is a yellow sticky substance that gives off a foul smell. If it isn’t removed within 72 hours, it will harden into tartar which needs to be removed professionally at the dentist. 

Another common cause of halitosis is dry mouth, which can be caused by an underlying health condition like diabetes, be a side effect of certain medications, mouth breathing, or simply because your child is not drinking enough water. 

Since saliva plays an important role in the mouth washing away left-behind food particles and neutralizing the acidic environment in your mouth. When it’s absent, these food particles linger and this leads to more foul-smelling bacteria. Other sources of halitosis can include the common cold, sinus infection, acid reflux, and tonsillitis.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

If your child’s bad breath is being caused by consuming smelly foods, you should limit their consumption of these foods. Foods such as garlic and onion contain sulfur compounds that emit foul-smelling gasses. 

Because they are absorbed in the bloodstream, simply brushing your teeth won’t get rid of the smell. While cleaning your teeth will help prevent smells emitted from plaque and bacteria, to get rid of the sulfur-induced smell, you should have your child eat an apple. 

Apples contain an enzyme that will combat the smell. You can also have them drink some green tea which contains polyphenols that will also mask the smell. However, to prevent bad breath in the long run and to combat chronic halitosis, it’s crucial to establish a good oral hygiene routine.

Your child should be brushing and flossing twice a day in the morning and at night. With a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, make sure your child brushes for a minimum of 2 minutes and flosses at least once a day. 

Younger children have limited dexterity so they may need help brushing. Show them how to properly hold a toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and how to brush in circular motions over all of the surfaces of their teeth. Even once they’re old enough to brush their own teeth, you might need to monitor them for a little while to make sure they’re doing it properly and for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Ensure that your child is staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and eating a nutritious diet with water-rich fruits and vegetables. If your child suffers from dry mouth, you should have them chew sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. This will encourage saliva production. Other products that combat dry mouth such as mouth rinses and sprays.

When to See a Dentist About Bad Breath

It’s time to see a dentist if you notice that your child consistently has bad breath most days or every day and if it does not seem to improve when they clean their teeth, use mouthwash, or eat a mint. 

This could be a sign of an oral health problem such as tooth decay, gum disease, an oral infection, or mouth breathing. If your child is experiencing any other signs of an oral health problem, you should contact us right away and let us know. 

You should also take your child to see a dentist if you know that they breathe through their mouth. Mouth breathing can cause a lot of oral health problems, including dry mouth, bite problems, changes to facial structure, a gummy smile, and an increased risk for sleep breathing disorders like sleep apnea.

Family Dentistry At Acacia Dental Care, LLC, Bring Your Child In Today!

If your child has halitosis, contact us at Acacia Dental Care, LLC today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brookes. He will perform an oral exam to look for signs of oral health problems and dry mouth. 

Additional x-rays may be necessary to diagnose potential problems. He will help you formulate a treatment plan to alleviate this unpleasant symptom. Oftentimes, children are overdue for a dental cleaning. The buildup of plaque and tartar can cause foul-smelling breath. 

However, your child may have a more serious problem like tooth decay that requires restorative treatment.

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If you’re ready to get started at Acacia Dental Care, we make it easy. Schedule today, and you’ll pay just $120 for our new patient special. There are no hidden fees or additional costs to worry about. Your new patient appointment includes:

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Oral exam
  • X-rays

*New patients only. Not valid with insurance. Not valid in cases of periodontal disease.

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