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Bad breath of the child; 12 important causes and 6 ways of treatment

A child’s bad breath after waking up after several hours of sleep or eating is neither strange nor alarming. But what if the child’s bad breath does not go away and has a chronic condition? Are we dealing with a disease and should see a pediatric dentist, or does maintaining oral and dental hygiene solve the problem?

In the following, we intend to examine the roots of this issue and share with you the ways to eliminate the bad breath of the child. Stay with us.

Child’s bad breath or halitosis?

According to research conducted in the world regarding the phenomenon, about 40% of parents notice the bad breath of their child at an early age. So do not worry. You are not the first parent to search the internet for the cause of this problem.

Of course, according to dentists, this condition is called halitosis. Halitosis is actually a scientific name for chronic bad breath. The origin of halitosis can be the mouth. Also, it is possible to exhale this unpleasant smell through the lungs.

What is the cause of bad breath in children?

A child’s bad breath, whether it is halitosis or chronic or temporary, is caused by various reasons. In this section, we review its 12 main defendants:

Not adhering to oral hygiene

Like many other problems in this field, the most common cause of bad breath in children is lack of oral and dental hygiene.

If dental plaques (bacterial masses that form on the teeth) and food residue are not removed by proper brushing and flossing, a feast of bacteria will begin in the child’s mouth. Also, when the bacteria start eating, they release compounds containing sulfur, which will lead to bad breath in the child.

Eating spicy food

Eating foods with a strong smell can also cause bad breath in children. As you know, digestion actually starts with the first bite of food. This means that everything a child eats breaks down in their mouth, which can cause bad breath.

Here too, some foods contribute to the production of sulfur and unpleasant odors, including garlic and onions. Sulfur-containing compounds remain in the child’s mouth, and are even absorbed into the child’s bloodstream. In this way, the child’s bad breath shows itself with every inhalation and exhalation for several hours after eating.

If this is the cause of children’s bad breath, there is no need to worry. However, this temporary problem cannot be solved even by brushing your teeth!

Whiteness of the tongue

The cause of bad breath in children and even teenagers may be the formation of a white coating on their tongue. Does your child’s language have the same problem?

Bad breath-causing bacteria, food debris, and decaying cells are often found in the bottom third of the tongue. As you can guess, their decomposing doesn’t smell good!

Now why does the tongue turn white? This white coating is actually the survival of the three mentioned, which are trapped between the taste buds or papillae. Brushing the tongue gently helps to remove this coating and prevent bad breath in children.

Tooth decay and infection

A decayed tooth can also be the cause of your child’s bad breath. Harmful bacteria for teeth not only release a bad smell, but also make it easier for food to get stuck in the cavities and damaged parts of the teeth and make it harder to brush. In this way, the unpleasant smell is intensified.

Other problems such as mouth ulcers or dental abscesses can also increase the need for ways to eliminate the bad breath of a child; After all, these are infections.

Gum diseases

Gum diseases can make children’s mouths smell bad, as well as adults’ mouths. Be careful that gum disease means inflammation or infection of the tissue that supports the teeth.

Of course, not many children are affected by periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. Instead, they usually get a less severe form called gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when soft plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) build up on the teeth and below the gum line.

Result? Bacteria and toxins in the plaque infect the gums and cause inflammation and bad breath in the child’s mouth, which cannot be removed by brushing. As we mentioned, infections do not smell good, and gum disease is no exception.

Big tonsils and the cause of bad breath in children

Children who have large tonsils, or the cavity behind their tonsils may also have this problem. In such a situation, the tonsils become a magnet for food residues, bacteria and nasal secretions.

Tonsil stones (tonsilloliths) can also form in these cavities and emit an unpleasant odor during decomposition.

Loose crown or tooth filling

If your child’s crown or filling is damaged and loose, food and bacteria can get stuck underneath. A subject that can easily cause halitosis.

Insufficient saliva and dry mouth

Did you know that saliva is the superhero of oral health? Saliva helps clean away food residue and bacteria in the mouth and neutralizes acids that are harmful to teeth. Saliva also helps prevent bad breath in children. Let us explain further.

At night and when the child sleeps, the secretion of saliva slows down and the activity of bacteria begins. That’s why their mouth doesn’t smell good in the morning. This causes bad breath in babies and toddlers. Because these bacteria exist in the mouths of everyone, young and old.

In this case, the ways to eliminate the child’s bad breath are very simple, and brushing and normal saliva secretion are enough? But if the problem is dry mouth (scientifically known as xerostomia), bad breath is not temporary and can be chronic (due to certain medications or diseases).

Allergy or ear, throat and nose infection

Viral and bacterial infections such as strep throat can also cause bad breath in children. In addition, secretions from the back of the pharynx and nose, such as allergies or sinus infections in children, can also cause this complication.

The bacteria in the mouth feed on these secretions and create foul-smelling gases. In this case, bad breath is accompanied by runny nose, congestion and fever. If you see such symptoms, before trying ways to prevent bad breath in children, see a pediatrician to confirm the diagnosis and treatment.

Breathing through the mouth

Some studies show that mouth breathing can also be the cause of bad breath in children. In this case, due to the mouth being open throughout the night, the mouth is dry and leads to bad breath in the morning. This issue may be temporary, due to the child’s nasal congestion or out of habit.

Some diseases

Some diseases, including diabetes, gastric reflux, oral thrush, and in rare cases, liver and kidney problems can cause bad breath. Halitosis is not serious in most cases, but if you have crossed out the common causes and you think this is the case, you should consult a specialist to get rid of your child’s bad breath.

The presence of a foreign body in the nose

The cause of bad breath in children may be a foreign object stuck in their nose. We all know this playfulness of toddlers that can get them to work.

This causes inflammation, runny nose and bad breath. If you think so, and the child has a fever and dark green mucus, see a doctor immediately.

Ways to get rid of bad breath in children

Using mint tea and similar solutions to treat this problem is very simple and tempting. But these things hide the problem and are not that effective. The method of removing bad breath in a child depends on its cause. However, the following tips will often be successful:

Teach the child about oral hygiene

The best way to prevent bad breath and more serious problems in children is to have them brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss once a day.

When brushing, make sure the child brushes the entire surface of each tooth along the gum line. He also cleans his tongue well so that a coating does not form on it.

To treat bad breath in toddlers and babies, you should brush and floss them yourself, and monitor their oral health until about 7 or 8 years old.

Have a healthy, complete and principled diet

While having such a diet to prevent children’s bad breath, it allows them to enjoy sweet and starchy foods (such as chips) in moderation. Oral bacteria love sugar and starch, and limiting these foods can go a long way toward eliminating bad breath and tooth decay.

Don’t underestimate the power of drinking a lot of water and eating breakfast to get rid of bad breath. Water helps flush away plaque, bacteria, and food particles, preventing dry mouth. Also, when children eat in the morning, the production of saliva is stimulated and bad odor is largely eliminated.

To cure bad breath in children, correct their bad habits

If your child has a “habit” of breathing through the mouth, you should know that bad breath is not the only complication and you should expect other oral and dental health complications as well. Pediatric dentists have sufficient expertise in this field, and can guide you.

Use sugar-free gums

Another way to get rid of bad breath in your child is to have him chew sugar-free gum after meals, snacks, or whenever he feels his mouth is dry.

This method is not suitable for children, but it is useful for older children who do not swallow the gum or leave it in strange places. Chewing gum increases saliva production and kills bad-smelling bacteria.

Tip: Gums containing xylitol are more effective in removing bad breath in children, because they reduce the amount of plaque, bacteria and the possibility of decay.

Do not neglect to visit the dentist regularly

The dentist will examine your child’s teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy. If the child needs crown restoration or tooth filling, it will be determined as well.

These early diagnoses make the treatment simple and less invasive; it also helps prevent children’s bad breath. In addition to the unpleasant smell, removing hardened plaques also helps to prevent decay and inflammation of the gums.

If the child’s bad breath is caused by an illness, consult a doctor

Usually, the treatment of the disease helps to cure bad breath in children. If a medication is causing this condition and embarrassing your child, talk to your pediatrician and see if there is an alternative medication.

When should we go to the dentist to treat children’s bad breath?

If this unpleasant smell is accompanied by toothache or redness, inflammation and bleeding gums, see a dentist. Your child may have a problem such as tooth decay or gingivitis that needs treatment. If you also have a fever, call your pediatrician. Fever is a sign of infection, and will require antibiotics to treat.

In both cases, this phenomenon is not an emergency issue. Try the tips and ways to eliminate the bad breath of the child that we mentioned above, to see if the problem is solved or not. If not, discuss the matter with the specialist at your child’s next visit to the dentist in Canada.


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