If you notice a strange foul odour whenever your kid exhales, chances are they have bad breath. Also known as halitosis, bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene, certain medical conditions, eating stinky food, and dehydration. Like adults, children can develop bad breath for various reasons.
While starting the child off with good oral hygiene is vital, you may run into challenges along the way. Therefore, it’s important to know the common causes and ways to alleviate bad breath in children. You’ll also want to check the status of your child’s breath, as this can help you determine if something is wrong with their oral hygiene.
First, Let’s Find Out What Causes Bad Breath
So what causes bad breath in children? Although most people attribute it to poor oral hygiene, it can stem from several sources, including dry mouth, poor hygiene, abscess, cavities, and other illnesses.
In most cases, poor oral hygiene causes bad breath in children. Whether it’s the lack of a good flossing routine, or failure to brush well, poor oral hygiene can quickly lead to halitosis. The most affected places are around the gums, on the tongue, and in between the teeth. When a child doesn’t brush properly, food particles get stuck, causing the build-up of plaques. Over time, this can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and in other cases, gum disease. Developing a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine is the best way to ensure your child has fresh breath.
If your child doesn’t produce enough saliva, they may have a dry mouth. In children, this occurs because of dehydration or mouth breathing. Without adequate amounts of saliva for rinsing bacteria and food particles, these particles may remain and start causing bad breath. A dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay as the mouth is dehydrated. To counter this, encourage them to drink at least two glasses of water every day.
Abscesses, Cavities, and Tartar Build-up
Just like adults, children are faced with oral health issues such as mouth sores, abscesses, tartar build-up, and cavities. If your child has recently suffered from an infection or illness, this could be the primary suspect. If they are showing signs such as congestion and sore throat, this is a sign that bad breath is related to infections. If you suspect your child has tonsillitis, talk to a doctor.
Children who are prone to colds, allergies, and sinus infections are also likely to suffer from bad breath. Sinus infections cause smelly mucus to drain into the mouth and throat, leading to bacterial production and bad breath. Diseases such as kidney failure, stomach infections, mouth cancer, and stomach problems can also lead to bad breath. If you know that your child is faced with one of these conditions, speak to your dentist about ways of protecting your kid.
How Can You Help Your Children Avoid Bad Breath
Here are some tips that can help your children avoid bad breath.
Brush Twice a Day
The most effective way to prevent bad breath in children is to encourage them to brush their teeth regularly. If your child is young, this can be challenging as their motors are still weak. You’ll want to guide them and schedule regular checkups to identify any oral health issues early.
Teach Your Child the Importance of Brushing Their Tongue
With many bacteria that stick, it’s best to teach your child the importance of brushing their tongue. Considering how challenging it is to convince your child to brush their teeth, you’ll want to ensure they learn how to brush early.
Replace their Toothbrush Every Few Months
Toothbrushes with old bristles are not only less effective but also harmful to the enamel. When your child uses these, chances are they’ll develop bad breath. To prevent this, replace their toothbrush every two months.
Giving Kids Sugarless Gum
While this may seem obvious, sometimes the source of bad breath is as simple as eating sugary gum. Sugary gums and other foods can lead to bad breath even after they’ve brushed their teeth. Try to replace these with healthy snacks.
Drink Lots of Water
It’s also helpful to encourage your child to drink lots of water. To make sure they are properly hydrated, buy them refillable water bottles. Drinking lots of water will also prevent dry mouth, one of the major causes of bad breath.
Schedule Regular Checkups
To prevent bacterial build-up that causes bad breath, schedule regular checkups. This way, they’ll receive cleaning and guidance on how to improve their oral routine. Regular checkups will also help identify problems such as tartar, plaque, tooth sensitivities, and cavities.
Although bad breath is unpleasant, it may be a sign of other extensive issues, so don’t ignore it. If you’ve eliminated any potential causes and your child still has bad breath, it’s time to consult a professional dentist to determine if there are other underlying health issues. But in most cases, proper diet and brushing your child’s teeth is what it takes to give them a fresh breath.