What Are the Main Bad Breath Causes in Children?

Having bad breath as an adult is a common ailment, and can be caused by certain foods and teeth or gums issues. It's also a common problem in children, but thankfully getting to the bottom of the cause and helping to reduce or remove it can be pretty simple. No one wants to have or be told they have halitosis and bad breath, so one of the most tactful ways to have it treated in children is to take them to the dentist. This helps rule out more serious bad breath causes, and can give you some guidance on how to deal with the problem.

Causes of the Smell

Bad breath in children has a range of possible causes, just like in adults. According to the California Child Healthcare Program, some of the most common causes include the following:

  • Decay, gum disease and food trapped in between teeth
  • Infections such as: strep throat, tonsillitis and sinusitis
  • Dry mouth due to dehydration or mouth breathing
  • Foods with a strong odor
  • Illness and medical problems such as: digestion of food, stomach or liver issues

Treating Bad Breath

Daily brushing and flossing treats most bad breath causes effectively. If your child has no obvious signs of infection, such as a fever, dripping nose or pain, cleaning his or her teeth and gums may be all that's required. Brush your child's teeth and gums with a soft children's toothbrush, removing all food particles. The American Dental Association also advises brushing the surface of the tongue, where bacteria accumulates, but be careful that you don't cause your child to gag. Give your child plenty of water to drink to prevent a dry mouth due to dehydration or breathing with their mouth open at night. If the smell continues, pay a visit to the dentist, who can check for cavities, gum disease or other problems. Your dentist may also refer you to a doctor to check for other possible bad breath causes if your child's mouth is otherwise healthy.

Prevention

At the end of the day (literally) good brushing habits keep bad breath from returning. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents brush their children's teeth up to the age of seven or eight before they can take over. Brush your child's teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime, using a toothpaste for children, Colgate® 2 in 1. Flossing should be done at night right before toothbrushing before your child goes to bed. Take your child to the dentist every six months, or as often as the practice recommends, to identify and treat any oral care problems early.

Snuggling up with your kids is one of the pleasures of being a parent, so don't let that bad breath keep you and their friends away. Help them maintain good oral hygiene, so bad breath causes aren't a life sentence and more serious dental problems can be avoided. With your support, your child's breath will be sweet and fresh.

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