Being a child isn’t easy. Add bad breath into the equation and it makes growing up even more difficult. Having bad breath or halitosis is something that affects all of us once in awhile at any age (1). In most cases, this condition is short-lived and goes away within a day or two. In other cases, the intervention of a dentist or doctor may be required. If you notice that your little one has a bad breath problem in spite of oral hygiene, you need to look into the matter. Here are some pointers on how you can help your child who is suffering from bad breath.
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
The main cause of bad breath in children is the presence of certain bacteria in the mouth. If oral hygiene is neglected, leftover food particles stay in the mouth, teeth, gums and tongue. This causes your child to have smelly breath.
Bad breath exists even in babies who are teething and showing the first signs of teeth.
Proper brushing and oral hygiene habits should be practiced among babies at every point of teeth growth. Dentists recommend that you brush your child’s teeth every morning and before bed in order to keep away cavity-causing bacteria, which may exist from food particles left in the mouth.
2. Dry Mouth
We sometimes breathe through our mouth when we can’t through our nostrils. This may make your child’s mouth dry. When the mouth is dry, there is little or no saliva present in it. This makes it an ideal place for accumulation and growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Reduction in saliva means an increase in the bad bacteria. During the duration of sleep, our body does not produce as much saliva as it does while we are awake. This is why we wake up with bad breath in the mornings.
3. A Smelly Meal Or Snack
Meals and snacks, which consist of pungent foods such as garlic and onion, can cause temporary bad breath in children as they travel through your child’s digestive tract. Foods loaded with sugar such as candies and soft drinks can be potentially harmful to your child’s mouth. This is due to the fact that bacteria are attracted to sugar. In order to avoid bad breath, encourage your child to brush their teeth after every meal. This is particularly important after eating a dessert.
4. Foreign Objects
Children are curious. During ‘exploration,’ children may place things from foods to toys into their mouth. If these objects get stuck, they may cause bad breath; this is especially likely if the food is already rotting and releasing bad odor.
5. A Condition Or Illness
Infections of the sinus such as coughs or colds and allergies may cause bad breath as well. The bacteria which is found in the respiratory tract en route to the mouth causes the foul smell of the breath. Irregular bowel movements can also cause bad breath. Bad breath usually goes away once the infections have cleared up. However, if it persists, visit a dentist to know what’s wrong.
6. Tooth Decay
The age-old cause of bad breath. The fear of tooth decay and cavities exists in all parents. In such cases, brushing alone won’t help. This is because of other dental issues such as plaque and tartar build up, dental carries and cavities. Routine dentist visits are a great preventive measure.
In addition to all of the above, the best way to avoid bad breath is to encourage regular brushing using fluoridated toothpaste. This should be done as soon as teeth erupt. The age-old saying comes to mind- prevention is better than cure.