Does Bad Breath in Children Require a Trip to the Dentist?

There are many different causes of bad breath in children. Some are obvious, but others are deeper and more complicated. But one thing’s for sure, bad breath in children shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes having bad breath is not just an issue socially, but it’s a sign that there’s a greater problem that needs to be addressed.

Children’s Dentistry treats children every day that deal with chronic halitosis. We know the things that cause bad breath in children, and we also know how to help you treat it. Let us show you what causes bad breath and when it may require a trip to the dentist.

1. Improper teeth brushing

This is the most obvious of issue that causes bad breath in children, but it’s also the most common. Improper teeth brushing can happen many different ways.

  • Not brushing enough: Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day. Make sure your child has made this part of his or her daily routine.
  • Not brushing long enough: Brushing twice daily is only part of a healthy teeth brushing routine. Make sure your child brushes for at least two minutes each time they brush. Using a timer is a good way to make sure they don’t stop too early.
  • Not brushing thoroughly: Watch your child brush their teeth and give them guidance on how they’re doing. Make sure they’re brushing more than their front teeth. Care should be given to the molars especially.
  • Not using a good toothbrush: A toothbrush should be replaced three to four times each year. A toothbrush with worn bristles will not clean as well as a fresh one will.
  • Not using floss: Most children do not like to floss, but flossing daily is a key to good oral health. When you don’t floss, food particles can become lodged between teeth and gums, which will cause more issues with bad breath.
  • Not using a tongue scraper: For children that struggle with bad breath, scraping the tongue is important. Removing the bacteria on the tongue could aid their breath in being fresher. You can buy a tongue scraper, and some toothbrushes even have a tongue scraper on the backside of the head of the brush.

Helping your child create a healthy teeth brushing habit is one of the most important ways to eradicate bad breath in children.

2. Infected sinuses or tonsils

Bacteria from infections can cause awful odors, and bad breath may be a sign of infection. There are two types of infections that can cause bad breath in children.

  • Sinus infection: If your child has cold-like symptoms, they could be suffering from a sinus infection. As the sinuses drain, they deposit bacteria in the throat, which will cause halitosis. If you believe your child has a sinus infection, contact their pediatrician for evaluation.
  • Tonsillitis: Swollen tonsils look raw, inflamed and usually have white spots on them, compared with normal tonsils which look pink and healthy. Take a flashlight and grab a peek to tell for sure. Infected tonsils can be treated effectively with antibiotics. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to remove them. Your child’s pediatrician will help you decide what course of action is best.

In either case, if you you’re not sure what causes bad breath in your child, these two common infections could be the problem. If you are suspicious, contact your child’s pediatrician and set up an appointment. Until then, gargling with salt water may be helpful for pain relief as well as to kill the harmful bacteria.

3. Dryness of the mouth

Dryness of the mouth

When you think of all the things that can cause bad breath in children, dry mouth isn’t probably very high on your list. However, dry mouth is a very real cause for bad breath. Saliva is necessary to wash away bacteria in the mouth. If that process is hindered, the bacteria that remains will cause bad breath.

The best way to encourage saliva production is to make sure your child remains hydrated. Make sure they are drinking the proper amount of water each day. This is especially true if your child plays sports or is active outside, as they will need to replace the fluids they lost through activity.

A lack of saliva for a long period of time can cause many health issues. Not only can it cause bad breath in children, but it can also cause cavities. Make sure that your child stays hydrated with water and avoids sugary drinks.

4. Breathing through the mouth

This cause of bad breath is related to the previous one, as breathing through the mouth will usually cause the mouth to become dry. Heavy mouth breathing happens from bad habits that the child has developed, but can also happen because of a blockage in the nasal passage.

Encourage your child to breathe properly during the day. You can also try nasal strips when the child sleeps. These help gently open the nasal passage, allowing them to breathe more easily through the nose. If they feel that they are unable to breathe through the nose, or that it causes them great difficulty or pain, schedule a visit with your child’s pediatrician.

Visit Children’s Dentistry for help

Bad breath in children is more than just a nuisance, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. It shouldn’t simply be covered up with chewing gum or mouthwashes. If you have more questions about what causes bad breath, contact us at Children’s Dentistry to schedule a consultation. We want to help your child’s symptoms improve.

To make your visit as convenient as possible, we have many convenient locations across the Los Vegas metro area. Our offices are kid-friendly, and we’ve tailored each space with video games, movies, and toys to make them feel at ease. We also offer several promotions and discounts to make parents happy too. Our team is ready to help your child have a healthy smile (and fresh breath)!

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