You cuddle up with your child, and as they open their mouth, you discover their breath isn’t so fresh. You’re not the only parent dealing with it, whether this is the first time you’ve noticed your child has foul breath or it has been an issue for some time. In fact, 37.6% of the children who took part in a 2014 study that was published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene experienced halitosis (bad breath).
Let’s dive into the various reasons why this could be happening to your child, and what you can do about it.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Consider whether your child has regularly practiced proper oral hygiene up to this point, even though you might be brushing their teeth frequently because they have bad breath. Although it’s always a good idea to start brushing and flossing regularly, if your child already has plaque or tartar accumulation in their mouth from previous bad brushing practices, the damage may have already been done.
Scaling and root planing are procedures used by dentists to eliminate plaque and tartar. Brushing your teeth will not help you get rid of it. Food particles lodged between the teeth can harbor bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay if not removed. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well. Bacteria that cause odor connect to skin cells on the back of the tongue.
Food caught between the teeth can cause bad breath, but so can plaque and dental infections. Bad breath and decay can also be indicators of gum disease, so it’s crucial to get your child’s mouth checked by a dentist to see if more serious action is required.
Foods with strong odors are a primary cause of halitosis in children. The digestive process begins with the first bite, so garlic, cheese, onions, and other pungent foods begin to break down in the mouth first. resulting in a foul odor. Making matters worse, both garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that remain in the mouth for hours before being absorbed into the circulation and released when your child exhales. Fortunately, this sort of halitosis is brief and does not signal a problem with your child’s oral health. Unfortunately, brushing will not entirely eliminate bad breath produced by sulfur-producing meals in a child, and you will have to wait it out.
Morning breath is not only a common source of bad breath in teenagers and adults; it may also cause bad breath in infants and toddlers. This is because everyone, regardless of age or number of teeth, has odor-causing bacteria in their mouth. Because saliva production slows down during sleep, this bacterium is not rinsed away. When children wake up, their breath smells. Morning breath will go as soon as your child brushes their teeth and their saliva flow resumes.
Dental Issues Such as Infections, Cavities, or Loosened Restorations
If your child develops dental decay (a cavity), it implies the tooth is decaying, which doesn’t smell very good. Food is also more prone to become stuck in the broken portion of the tooth, worsening children’s bad breath. Because it is an infection, abscessed teeth and mouth sores can both create intense bad breath in children. If your child has a loose or cracked dental crown or filling, bacteria will build beneath the treatment, resulting in halitosis.
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, creates foul breath in children in the same manner as morning breath does. Because not enough saliva is generated, bacteria and food particles are not rinsed away, and the mouth begins to stink. While morning breath fades quickly, dry mouth can persist when caused by a medical condition or medication. If dry mouth is caused by dehydration, having your child drink extra water is a simple foul breath treatment.
Gum disease can affect children as well. The bacteria and toxins in plaque can cause the gums to become inflamed and infected if soft plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) build up around and under the gum line and in between the teeth (gingivitis). Infection never smells nice, which is why recurring foul breath is a hallmark of gum disease in children.
Breathing Through the Mouth
Mouth breathing promotes foul breath in toddlers and children because it produces dry mouth, which is related with stinky breath, as we’ve discovered. If your child is breathing through their mouth due to a congested nose, the halitosis should be temporary and will disappear after the congestion has dissipated. Mouth breathing in youngsters can also be a habit that causes not just foul breath but also orthodontic concerns that must be addressed. If found early, it can be reversed, so if you suspect your child’s bad breath is caused by persistent mouth breathing, have it tested.
In babies, toddlers, and people of all ages, sinus infections can produce bad breath. Mucus frequently drips down the back of the neck and settles on the tongue. When bacteria feed on the gunk, they emit foul-smelling gases.
If your child’s tonsils have deep pits or are prominent, oral and nasal secretions, food debris, and bacteria can become stuck. Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) may also form in the pits and emit a foul odor when they decompose.
Other Health Conditions
Diabetes, thrush, infections (including the sinus infection mentioned above), gastroesophageal reflux, and, in rare cases, liver or kidney disorders can all cause foul breath in children. Bad breath in babies and children does not necessarily indicate that something is wrong with your child, but if the dentist has ruled out other causes of halitosis, it wouldn’t hurt to see your pediatrician.
Give us a call today at 801-948-8880 and book an appointment for your child. Our offices are child-friendly and our dentists are dedicated to your child’s oral health, so you know they are getting the best service and treatment they deserve. We hope to see you soon!