Children can develop bad breath from a wealth of sources. Lewis First, a pediatrician at Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen, recently listed a few of them for NBC 5 News.
Probably the most common cause of halitosis in kids is simple plaque buildup. It can be difficult to make sure a child regularly brushes their teeth, and even an occasional missed brushing can leave the door open for oral bacteria to multiply and emit odors.
First noted that many children put objects in their mouths, like pacifiers, blankets or hair, that can contribute to the microbe-rich cultures that grow on the tongue.
Additionally, he said that mouth breathing can significantly contribute to oral odor. Whether a child has a stuffy nose or just habitually breathes with their mouth hanging open, the passage of air over the tongue can dry out the mouth's saliva. Without this moisture to wash away microorganisms, odors can intensify quickly.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the University of Nove de Julho, Brazil, is currently holding a clinical trial to study the connection between mouth-breathing and childhood bad breath.
A parent cannot always detect halitosis on their child's breath, as a study published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry determined. To crack down on bad breath in people of all ages, brush regularly and consider using a specialty breath freshener afterward.