Having your kids brush their teeth before they go to bed each night helps them learn good oral hygiene practices. And while twice-daily tooth brushing is good for developing teeth, it always enough to stop bad breath from occurring. Bad breath isn't always solely an oral health issue; there can be other causes that need a different solution. Here are five surprising causes of bad breath in children and how to stop them.
Have any of your kids complained about a sore throat or stuffy nose lately? It might be a sinus infection. Sinus issues cause fluid to collect in the nasal passages and throat, making your child's throat the perfect place for bacteria to gather. The result? Stinky breath that can't be cured with toothbrushing and mouthwash alone. If you suspect a sinus infection (potential sore throat, burning nasal passages and post nasal drip), call your doctor for a visit and see if antibiotics will be prescribed.
It may not be your first thought, but your child's bad breath could be the result of something stuck in her nasal passages. Kids are curious, and their nostrils are just the right size for inserting small items such as beads, beans, toy accessories and food. Pediatrician Dr. William Sears explains that when an object gets lodged in a child's nasal passages it can create a nasty smell. If you suspect this is what is causing your child's bad breath, you'll need a doctor to help check your child's nasal passages and remove the object.
Grab a flashlight and take a peek in your child's mouth: How do those tonsils look? Healthy tonsils should be pink and spot free, but infected ones are red, inflamed, can have white spots and smell terrible. Bacteria can collect in the pits of swollen tonsils and, paired with the sour smell of infection, can cause bad breath. If your child's tonsils look swollen or red, your pediatrician should examine them and can prescribe an antibiotic to help take care of the problem.
Kids are pretty active and, with all that running around, it can be hard for them to remember to stay hydrated. Bad breath in children that play sports is often caused by a lack of fluids. If kids don't get enough water, their mouths will produce less saliva for washing away odor-causing bacteria. It might not seem like a big deal, but a lack of saliva can also even lead to tooth decay and cavities; it's worth the extra care to make sure kids drink their water.
Oral Issues: Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Even the best brushing and oral hygiene habits aren't enough to get rid of a smell that can come from tooth decay and other oral infections. Whether it's a cavity, gum disease or even mouth sores, infections of the mouth can secrete an odorous scent. Kid-specific toothpastes will help prevent issues from spreading, but brushing can't heal a cavity. If your kids have tooth decay, it's time to see your dentist.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that bad breath is the result of your kids skipping the most important part of their usual bedtime routine. Even with regular brushing, other types of bad breath can make bedtime stories unpleasant. Do some research and hone in on the cause of the issue and take the appropriate action.