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Bad Breath in Kids

By – Bad Breath Expert
Posted: April 21, 2009, Updated: July 28, 2015
Bad Breath in Children Can Mean a More Serious Health Issue
Bad breath in children can get worse throughout the day because as they breathe, their mouth becomes dryer, allowing bacteria to grow. Children need to see a pediatrician especially if they have to breathe out of their mouths due to colds, sinus infections, allergies, or bigger-than-average tonsils and adenoids blocking their nasal passages. Thumb sucking can also dry out the mouth. For children, here is a list of uncommon bad breath odors that may be a sign of a much more serious health complication:
  • Acetone - diabetes or acetone, alcohol, phenol, or salicylate ingestion
  • Ammonia - possibly a urinary tract infections or kidney failure
  • Asparagus - eating asparagus (yes, it may happen)
  • Bitter almonds - cyanide poisoning
  • Cat's urine - odor of cats syndrome (beta-methyl-crotonyl-CoA-carboxylase deficiency)
  • Celery - Oasthouse urine disease
  • Dead fish - stale fish syndrome (trimethylamine oxidase deficiency)
  • Fresh-baked bread - typhoid fever
  • Foul - tonsillitis, sinusitis, gingivitis, lung abscess, or dental cavities
  • Garlic - arsenic, phosphorus, organic phosphate insecticides, or thallium poisoning
  • Horse-like (also described as mouse-like or musty) - phenylketonuria
  • Rancid butter - rancid butter syndrome (hypermethionemia and hypertyrosinemia)
  • Raw liver - liver failure
  • Sweaty socks - odor of sweaty feet syndrome (Isovalryl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency) or sweaty feet syndrome II (Green acyldehydrogenase deficiency)
  • Violets - turpentine poisoning
Also, don't forget that little kids often stuff things in their mouth or noses, so always pay close attention, especially if there's discolored nasal discharge. Source: Alan Greene MD FAAP