Why Does My Child's Breath Smell?

Does your child have a significantly foul-smelling breath that is consistent, unrelated to consumed foods, and isn’t responding to small lifestyle changes? These are signs that your child has halitosis.

Halitosis is when bad breath is caused by improper oral hygiene or some other underlying problem, such as inadequate saliva flow, medical conditions, or medications. Oftentimes the main contributor is improper brushing or flossing and this can be fixed by learning how to clean the teeth and mouth more thoroughly and for the appropriate amount of time. 

To find out more about halitosis, read on. This blog from Timber Kids Dentistry will give you all the information you need to fight back against unpleasant odor.

Improper Oral Hygiene Causing Bad Breath

Toddlers are susceptible to poor oral hygiene practices if the importance of proper teeth cleaning hasn’t been stressed to them or they are not informed how to clean their teeth for the proper amount of time.

Failure to thoroughly brush and floss can lead to the accumulation of plaque due to food particle buildup in the mouth. Plaque is a sticky substance that can get stuck between the teeth and in the gums. If left untreated and unremoved, this buildup can lead to the development of gum disease, which is also a bad breath culprit.

Plaque can contribute to foul-smelling odors, as food particles have been left in the mouth over time and were not properly removed. Other sources of bad breath due to poor oral hygiene include infections, cavities, and mouth sores which are all known to give off unpleasant odors.

Other Causes of Bad Breath

If your child does practice proper oral hygiene and regularly visits the dentist, then the source of their bad breath could be something else entirely. Another big cause of bad breath is dry mouth. Saliva protects our teeth because by washing away food particles left behind after eating.

When we have inadequate levels of saliva in the mouth, this can cause dry mouth. Sources of dry mouth can be traced to certain conditions like diabetes, medications which cause dry mouth as a side effect, or mouth breathing at night.

Another cause of dry mouth can simply be inadequate hydration, in which case the proper course of action is for your child to drink more water. Other causes of bad breath in children are:

  • Eating smelly foods like garlic or onions
  • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids harboring bacteria
  • Sinus infection or swollen tonsils
  • Tooth decay
  • Abscess
  • Acid reflux
  • Certain diseases (diabetes, kidney failure)

Treating Bad Breath

The good news about the main source of bad breath in children being caused by improper oral hygiene is that it can be fixed by practicing good oral hygiene. To ensure that your child is thoroughly working in between the teeth to remove bacteria and food particles and preventing plaque and tartar buildup, they should brush for at least 2 minutes twice a day.

They should also floss once a day and remember not to neglect cleaning their tongue. The tongue is often forgotten about but this is another source of bacteria and odor buildup. Have your child brush the top of their tongue or get them a tongue scraper.

Make sure that they are flossing between all of the teeth and removing any leftover food particles. When brushing their teeth, they should angle their toothbrush at a 45-degree angle in the direction of the gums. Don’t forget to brush around the gum line and ensure they hygienically store their toothbrush (standing upright, not touching anything).

Another source of your child’s bad breath could be an old, dirty toothbrush that should be thrown out. Toothbrushes should be swapped out every 3 months due to wear and tear. Fluoridated mouthwash can also be used to combat bad breath in kids over the age of 6.

Treat Halitosis at Timber Kids Dentistry

If you have tried addressing your child’s bad breath odor with an adjustment in oral hygiene care, it could be a case of too little, too late. It’s best to bring your child into Timber Kids Dentistry to see us so we can perform an oral exam and identify the source of the odor.

Once plaque and tartar have accumulated in the mouth, the only way to have them removed is with a professional dental cleaning. Bad breath caused by improper saliva flow will need to be addressed by adjusting medications, ensuring your child doesn’t breathe through their mouth or using saliva stimulating medications.

Bad breath odor caused by an illness or disease will need to be fixed by addressing the medical issue itself. Luckily the most likely cause of your child’s bad breath can be chalked up to an overdue dental cleaning. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and say goodbye to bad breath forever!

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