Reasons for baby bad breath can range from respiratory infections that make it difficult for the child to breathe through his nose to having a foreign object obstructing one of the nasal passages. Parents are frequently surprised that a six month old can have bad breath since halitosis is usually attributed to poor oral hygiene habits practiced by adults. However, children under the age of two can also have bad breath because the mouth's environment is capable of sustaining the same bacteria that causes bad breath in older kids and adults.
What could be Causing Baby Bad Breath?
Dry mouth: babies often sleep with their mouths slightly open which allows air to enter and dry out the mouth. Saliva flow substantially decreases when the mouth is dry, creating an environment devoid of oxygen. As a result, anaerobic bacteria start rapidly reproducing, consuming any mucus, milk or juice droplets lying on the gums and erupted teeth. To read more about bad breath, click here.
Volatile sulfur compounds: Digestion of protein-rich mouth debris by bacteria stimulates the excretion of large amounts of volatile sulfur compounds, or VSCs. These compounds are comprised of various foul-smelling gases, such as skatole, putrescine and cadavarine that resemble the odors of rotten eggs and decaying flesh. Unless dry mouth is reversed by hydrating and oxygenating a baby's mouth, anaerobic bacteria will continue to thrive and produce bad breath.
In addition, bacteria tend to live and stagnate in fissures and grooves found on the back of the tongue. These bacteria can be a major source of halitosis and are often neglected by parents when brushing a baby's teeth and gums.
Foreign objects lodged in nasal passages: toddlers especially are notorious for sticking objects into places they do not belong. Pediatricians commonly find beans, peas, coins and small toys lodged in the noses of young children when mothers bring in their children for respiratory problems. Having something obstructing nasal passages will cause a child to breath through their mouth, which results in dry mouth and bad breath.
Objects stuck in sinus passages may also irritate sensitive nasal tissues, creating a condition called post nasal drip. Excess mucus produced by inflamed tissues drip into the back of the throat and cannot be removed by swallowing because of its viscous nature. Accumulation of this mucus attracts droves of anaerobic bacteria that consume proteins in the mucus and exude additional VSCs. Until the foreign object is removed and the irritation relieved, post nasal drip will continue to be a major contributor to baby bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene: Although most babies do not experience their first tooth eruption until about six or seven months old, their gums and tongue still need to be cleaned regularly to prevent bacterial buildup conducive to gum disease. Parents should take a soft toothbrush and gently clean a baby's gums and tongue with a non-abrasive toothpaste that does not contain sugars or harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate.
Harsh Chemicals: Found in many name brand toothpastes, cleaners and detergents because of its ability to make products "foam", sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is used by manufacturers solely to make consumers think that a toothpaste or cleaner is genuinely "cleaning" something due to its ability to produce a visible foaming action, such as when toothpaste is rubbed against teeth.
However, SLS contributes nothing to cleaning the mouth or freshening breath. In fact, SLS has been shown to promote anaerobic bacterial activity by sloughing oral tissues, an action that just creates more food for bacteria. Additionally, research studies into a suspected correlation between SLS and the increased frequency of canker sores proved that SLS indeed stimulated the development of cankers sore as well as other mouth lesions that shed tissue and bled when irritated. Blood and tissue both contain high amounts of protein, the perfect kind of food on which anaerobic bacteria feed especially when combined with dry mouth.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease: the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website states that children who have immature gastrointestinal systems often suffer from acid reflux, a condition they generally outgrow by 12 to 16 months of age. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter abnormally relaxes and allows stomach contents to "upflow" into the esophagus and back of the throat.
Babies suffering from GERD will vomit frequently, wheeze or cough, experience colicky behavior and appear to have difficulty swallowing due to a sore or scratchy throat. Professional diagnoses of GERD in infants and toddlers are accomplished by administering a gastric emptying test or upper GI endoscopy. To learn more about GERD, click here.
GERD causes bad breath because partially digested food forced into the back of the throat interacts with mucus and remains there as protein-rich food for anaerobic bacteria. In addition, stomach acid mixing with food creates a distinctly sharp odor that mingles with the VSCs produced by bacteria, worsening the odor of an already existing condition of bad breath.
Safe and Effective Oral Hygiene Products for Babies
Over 20 years ago, Dr. Harold Katz, an esteemed bacteriologist and dentist, embarked on a mission to help his daughter overcome her embarrassing halitosis. After performing research studies regarding anaerobic bacteria, he created the now famous line of TheraBreath Oral Hygiene products, a special group of toothpastes, mouthwashes, rinses, sprays, mints and sugarless chewing gum.
Contained in these items was a powerful ingredient he later patented called OXYD-8. This compound is capable of enhancing saliva flow and generating oxygenating molecules within the mouth that eradicates VSC- producing bacteria and bad breath.
Many people who have suffered severe bad breath for years arere amazed at the results they experience after using Dr. Katz's unique oral hygiene products. Individuals now possess mouths that are constantly hydrated, rich with oxygen and free of bad breath bacteria.
Especially designed to reach the back of the throat where mucus and mouth debris often lies untouched and teeming with bacteria, TheraBreath's Extinguisher Spray can be safely used by parents to eliminate baby bad breath.
TheraBreath products are natural and do not contain chemicals that could hurt a baby's sensitive mouth, such as SLS, alcohol or artificial preservatives. Moreover, Dr. Katz has included aloe vera in his toothpastes for healthy gums as well as essential oil of peppermint for a pleasant, cool taste.