My Kid’s Breath Smells Terrible, What Do I Do?

Have you ever caught a whiff of your child’s breath in the morning only to be nearly knocked over from the smell? Foul-smelling breath, or halitosis, is a common problem among children, especially when they first wake up in the morning. However, if the odor is extreme, persistent, and does not respond to oral hygiene, you should take them to the dentist, as there may be something else going on.

What Is Halitosis?

Halitosis is the clinical term for foul-smelling breath. It has a variety of causes, such as poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, medical conditions, side effects from medications, or your child may simply have eaten smelly food. 

Halitosis can sometimes be a symptom of a larger problem, such as a sinus infection or diabetes. In teenagers, bad breath may be caused by smoking or an eating disorder. The best way to determine the cause of your child’s bad breath is to monitor their eating and brushing habits. 

The most common culprit is a combination of eating odor-producing foods and inadequate brushing and flossing. This results in a buildup of bacterial plaque which produces volatile sulfur compounds, causing a foul sulfur smell.

How to Prevent Halitosis

The good news is that the most common cause of halitosis is entirely preventable. Plaque forms as a result of food particles that are left behind in the mouth from improper brushing and flossing. Your child must brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for at least 2 minutes. 

Make sure they don’t neglect to brush their tongue which also harbors a lot of bacteria. Many kids don’t necessarily have a problem with brushing – it’s the flossing that they tend to neglect. However, if your child only brushes and never flosses, they’re neglecting ⅔ of the surface of their teeth! 

Plaque can form between the teeth and lead to interproximal cavities (cavities located between the teeth). To prevent this, your child needs to floss once a day, between all of their teeth.

They should also stay hydrated to prevent dry mouth, which can produce a foul odor in the mouth. Avoiding excess consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks can reduce smelly breath and cavities. 

Regular dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months are recommended by the ADA. This will remove plaque buildup from your child’s mouth and their dentist can determine potential causes of halitosis.

Banish Halitosis With Professional Dental Cleanings

If your child is currently plagued with halitosis, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the dentist. We can perform an oral exam and look for any abnormalities on x-rays such as tooth decay or gum disease. A dental cleaning can remove odor-producing plaque and we’ll discuss how your child can keep halitosis in check with good oral hygiene practices. 

If we don’t detect the source of your child’s halitosis, you should take them to a doctor to check for possible medical conditions. Contact us at Dentistry For Children today to schedule an appointment.

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