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Stinky Breath? All About Halitosis in Kids

added on: October 22, 2014
Cartoon image of bad breath

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, is not only a dental problem that affects adults, it can also be pretty common in children. 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 Long Island is here to help you understand some of the causes of bad breath, what bad breath could mean, and some ways to fix it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

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 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.

Why Do Children Get Bad Breath?

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 follow a proper brushing and flossing routine, plaque can buildup 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 Long Island.

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 for the bad breath. 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.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath in Kids?

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 stuff 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 Long Island pediatric dental office. We’ll check out what’s going, determine the underlying cause, and recommend the best solution for your child. If you just need some tips on how to make brushing fun or how to teach your little one to take care of his teeth, just ask. We’re here to help smiles grow healthy.

Serving patients in Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County, and surrounding areas.