Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is a dental problem that not only affects adults but can be pretty common in children too. But what exactly causes bad breath? Why would a child get bad breath? How can you get rid of it? Our pediatric dental office in The Woodlands is here to help you understand some of the causes of bad breath in kids, what bad breath could mean, and some ways to fix it.
Bad breath is often blamed on food or drinks. But if your child has bad breath that doesn’t go away, it’s not a result of those stinky chips your child just ate. Halitosis is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and survive off of leftover food particles and plaque on teeth. When the bacteria feed, they can produce hydrogen sulfide. The sulfide is what gives an icky, rotten smell. Chronic bad breath could even be a sign of gum disease, so it’s important to get checked.
Most of the time, the cause of bad breath in kids is a poor oral hygiene routine. Perhaps they aren’t flossing and brushing enough or, when they do, they’re doing it too fast. When a child doesn’t practice good brushing and flossing habits, plaque can build up and bacteria can multiply, causing a foul odor in the mouth. To help, make sure to maintain regularly scheduled appointments with your pediatric dentist in The Woodlands.
While it’s normal for a child to wake up with smelly breath (it’s normal for adults too), if the stench continues throughout the day, there may be other explanations. During sleep, the number of bacteria in the mouth rises, which gives us all morning breath. However, brushing and flossing in the morning, and increased saliva production throughout the day, should help wash away bacteria and debris, and breath should become fresher. If it doesn’t, your child may be a mouth-breather. Breathing through the mouth dries it out quickly and the saliva can’t do its job of flushing out the bad stuff. Dry mouth can also be caused by some medications or thumb sucking.
One of the first things to try is to make sure your children know how to brush and floss properly. Also ensure that they’re brushing their tongue every time they brush their teeth. A lot of bacteria can stay on the tongue even through a good tooth brushing, so make sure that’s cleaned too. You can also try to have your child drink more water. Water will help increase saliva production so the bad breath bacteria can be washed away. Lastly, encourage brushing after meals so food particles don’t have a chance to linger around.
If these solutions don’t work, call our Woodlands pediatric dental office. We’ll check out what’s going on, determine the underlying cause, and recommend the best solution for your child. We’re here to help smiles grow healthy.
Serving patients in The Woodlands, Spring, and surrounding areas.