Not many things smell sweeter than a freshly bathed baby, so how in the world does that baby grow into a toddler or child with bad breath? We usually associate bad breath, aka halitosis, in scientific terms and more commonly with adults.
Surprisingly, bad breath arises fairly often in children for a number of reasons that can almost always be successfully addressed. An affinity for traditionally stinky foods such as garlic, onions, hard cheeses, spicy meats, etc. needs to be ruled out first.
The next most likely culprit with bad breath is oral hygiene. If too many bacteria exist in the mouth, living on leftover proteins and sugars that weren’t brushed away, they emit sulfur compounds that, well…smell pretty bad.
Get your child on a regular schedule of brushing, possibly even more than twice a day if necessary, and flossing every day. Be sure your child’s toothbrush is no more than a few months old; it needs bristles that are up to the task. Do not neglect brushing the tongue, as it tends to harbor bacteria. Mouthwashes and sugar-free gums may cover some odors and provide moisture, but they are no substitute for flossing and brushing.
If adjusting diet and oral hygiene habits, it may be time to consider these other causes of bad breath:
- Dry mouth. Is your child a mouth-breather or taking certain medications with “dry mouth” warnings? When saliva production decreases, bacteria cannot be cleared away as effectively.
- Sinus trouble. You probably know already (from a history of infections) if your child has sinus problems. That can result in bad breath.
- Gum disease. If your child’s oral health habits are better now but were not effective in the past, he or she may have developed gum disease (periodontitis) from the presence of plaque, a condition that will, if untreated, cause odor.
If you’ve noticed that your child has persistent bad breath that you can’t seem to conquer, please call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sjostrom. He will do his best to diagnose the issue and help you take care of your child’s bad breath. Luckily we stock plenty of masks in the office, so there’s no need to worry about scaring anyone off.