Addressing and treating bad breath in children

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Over 25 percent of all people have bad breath, especially toddlers and young kids. Beyond brushing and flossing, there is plenty to be done to prevent dreaded halitosis.

Posted: February 22, 2016

Bad breath isn't just a concern for adults. As the Massachusetts Dental Society explained, 25 percent of the population suffers from the icky condition known as halitosis, and that includes many toddlers and young children. Just as it might ruin your board meeting, bad breath can be just as socially damaging for kids . Plus, it could be indicative of a much greater health issue. That's why it's so important that parents understand the causes of bad breath and how best to treat the condition. Grab those breath mints and a toothbrush because here is everything you'll need to know:

"Bad brushing is the most common cause of bad breath."

Understand the common causes

There are varying levels of bad breath, each with its own odor and level of intensity, as there are a multitude of causes and underlying medical issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Improper brushing and flossing is perhaps the most common cause of bad breath, as food builds up, decays over time and causes those tear-inducing odors. And speaking of food, items like garlic, onions and certain spices definitely affect one's breath. Though not nearly as common, some infections - like those that follow teeth removal and other forms of oral surgery - can also result in bad breath. 

There are uncommon causes, too

While dental hygiene, diet and certain infections all factor into the equation, there are other less common causes of bad breath. Swollen tonsils, for instance, can result in the collection of bacteria, which eventually break down and cause bad breath. According to the Mayo Clinic, this swelling, called tonsillitis, happens most frequently in children between preschool age and their late teens. Like tonsillitis, a sinus infection can lead to an abundance of bad-breath-causing bacteria, and these kinds of issues are especially common in young kids. Finally, parents should always be wary of foreign objects. The crayons, toys and other items children often stick up their noses can create a bacterial backup that leads to many a foul smell. 

A word on dry mouth

As GKG Orthodontics explained, many parents tend to overlook mouth breathing in their children. Sometimes it can be the result of allergies or just a kid's lack of understanding. However, prolonged mouth breathing can actually dry out the mouth, and that condition can eventually lead to the dreaded halitosis. Dry mouth means there is a distinct lack of saliva, which the body needs to fight off bacteria and keep your teeth nice and shiny. In fact, a 2009 study from several premiere pediatric dentists found that children with dry mouth have a greater risk for damaged or malformed teeth. Many of the same children also suffered from other oral ailments, like an over- or underbite.

"Toss your kids' toothbrush out once every few months."

Find the right treatment

Given the larger oral health concerns associated with bad breath, it's no wonder that there are such a wide array of prevention and treatment options. First and foremost, proper brushing and flossing are the greatest tools anyone has for combating halitosis. One thing that many parents forget, though, is that you have to get a new toothbrush once every few months, according to Delta Dental. And when you're going to buy that new toothbrush, it's a good idea to pick up a tongue scraper. As the Mayo Clinic pointed out, scraping the tongue once a week can potentially reduce bacteria but only if paired with proper brushing and flossing. A change in diet can also help minimize bacteria and thus prevent bad breath. Mom Junction explicitly pointed to sweets, as the sugary portions get stuck on the edge of teeth. Lastly, make sure your child visits the dentist at least annually, as the doctor can uncover any hidden causes of bad breath and monitor your kid's oral health.

TheraBreath Oral Rinse Our original clinical-strength Mild Mint flavor oral rinse!
$9.95
TheraBreath Toothpaste Our original clinical strength toothpaste fights bad breath instantly.
$9.95
Win $100 in Products!   Enter Here
gum disease