Halitosis or bad breath is a dental condition in which unpleasant odors are emanating from the mouth. This can be a result of eating smelly foods, having inadequate saliva supply, a side effect of medications, or certain conditions.
However, it is most likely an indication that your child is lacking in oral hygiene practices, resulting in an accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and leftover food particles which produce a foul smell.
Certain Smelly Foods
We’ve all suffered from the dreaded garlic and onion breath at some point in our lives. Sometimes the source of your child’s bad breath is a potent smell in the food they just ate. They should make a habit of brushing their teeth after eating smelly foods to reduce this odor.
It may be a good idea to limit smelly foods before going out in public or to socialize. However, if the problem persists even after thoroughly cleaning their teeth and when they have not eaten any smelly foods, this is likely not the source.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Your child may not be brushing their teeth often enough or long enough. They should brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes. They also may be neglecting to floss, which can cause food particles to be lodged between the teeth and lead to plaque buildup.
Your child could have tooth decay, gum disease, dental infections, or an abscess which can produce foul smells. The first offender that leads to these problems is leftover food particles. Bacteria feed on these particles and plaque to produce hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide gives off a rotten smell.
If the bad breath is extreme and persistent, it could be a sign of gum disease. While bad breath may seem harmless, it is often indicative of a larger problem. Take your child to the dentist for an oral exam and to ensure their teeth are healthy. They could be overdue for a teeth cleaning and removing plaque and tartar may resolve the problem.
Dry mouth can be a side effect of medications, certain conditions like diabetes, or lack of hydration. Saliva is really important to protect our teeth, as it aids in washing away food particles that were left behind.
Inadequate levels of saliva can cause excess food particles to be leftover in the mouth and if your child is not brushing regularly and thoroughly, this is a breeding ground for cavities and tooth decay.
Certain Illnesses, Conditions
If all other possibilities have been ruled out, then certain conditions, illnesses, or infections may be causing the bad breath. Certain conditions cause dry mouth, which can cause bad breath.
Swollen tonsils and sinus infections are indicative of bacteria collecting in the back of the throat, which will produce a foul odor. This will usually need to be treated with antibiotics. Other conditions that are known to cause bad breath include:
- Stomach infections
- Kidney failure
- Liver problems
- Mouth cancer
If you are aware that your child suffers from any of these conditions, then this is what could be causing their bad breath. If you are not aware of your child having any of these conditions and all other possibilities have been ruled out, it’s worth visiting a doctor to rule everything out.
Treating Bad Breath in Children
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene at home through regular brushing, flossing, and antibacterial mouthwash, you should bring your child to the dentist every 6 months. Regular dental cleanings and checkups prevent plaque from building up in the mouth and reduce the risk of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
We can also help treat your child for dry mouth or infections that are causing bad breath. Contact us at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Julie Hantson.