Does your child suffer from stinky breath as soon as he wakes up?
Or is it even sometimes happening more often than not during the day?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be very embarrassing, especially for kids. Unfortunately, it can be very common!
Reasons can vary from causes to do with the teeth or medical reasons too! Some reasons are thankfully just temporary, and others need a thorough investigation for us to identify the underlying cause.
I would love to share with you some common facts about bad breath, why does your child have it, and how to get rid of it.
Fact 1: What! How can my child have bad breath? I thought only adults do!
Before we delve right in, we need to understand a simple fact first.
It is all about the Bacteria (oral ones particularly- for the sake of this blog! There can be ones in the nose too but I wont get into that for now!)
If we take the bacteria out of the equation or actually kill the bacteria, voila, minty freshness all round.
Here is an interesting fact: did you know that 90% of oral malodor is on the tongue?
Fact 2: So what are the causes of bad breath?
5 main causes for you to be on the look out for!
- Poor Oral Hygiene (a.k.a not brushing our teeth properly):
This is the most common cause of bad breath in children. Dental plaque harbors all these nasty smelly bacteria. Brushing in a haste leads to incomplete removal of plaque and consequently bad odor!
When plaque bacteria are allowed to feed off food stuck between teeth for long, they grow and become increasingly active, the gums start harboring more and more horrid disease-causing bacteria that manifest as bleeding and sore gums. This is why it is highly recommended to schedule a regular cleaning appointment for your child every 6 months so the dentist for kids can take care of those gums before they do actually lead to that bad breath.
If your child is a mouth breather, or if he often sleeps with his/her mouth open or even in the odd chance of a stuffy nose or some sort of allergy in the background, your child’s mouth is producing less saliva than usual again causing bad breath. Also don’t forget one vital piece of information, when we sleep our salivary flow decreases significantly causing the bacteria to run around and cause mayhem- that manifest as bad breath or worse: dental decay!
It is not just the food a child eats that can stink up the breath. Its food stuck in a cavity that can act as a reservoir for the bacteria to constantly feed and cause even more decay.
The more the stench coming from the mouth, the stronger the possibility for more decay cavities being present! There is also a chance one of the teeth has developed dental infection or a sinus tract or even an abscess- that can definitely lead to a very strong smell coming from your child’s mouth!
Beware! FYI, a lot of children can experience bad breath (a lot more than adults) simply due to their eating habits, if I must say, sugar eating habits…ehm ehm!
Your child’s tongue can be the home for those gruesome bacteria that stink up the breath. The tongue is created in such a way that it has fissures and grooves whereby leftover food or even sugar molecules get housed for a period of time. Giving the bacteria enough time to ferment the food and produce Sulphur like by products! Think of rotten eggs…ewwww..
Fact 3: How to cure Bad Breath?
Now to the best part. There is no real cure. However, since is it a bacterial disease at the end of the day, lets figure :out ways to eliminate these horrible bacteria
Use the tongue scraper: The general recommendation is to scrap the tongue to get the bacteria out. Brushing the tongue does not do the same job as scraping the tongue, because brushing it distributes the bacteria around rather than remove it off! We want it off…completely off.
- Use the brush: Twice a day, two minutes and it is best that you as the parent help the child in brushing their teeth. I know a lot of parents ask me “how to brush for a toddler” or “how best to brush for a child” this is a topic for another day, but trust me you do a far better job than a child brushing his or her teeth alone!
- Look for other medical reasons and visit a pediatrician just to make sure no underlying reasons are running in the background
- Visit your pediatric dentist regularly for cleaning appointments and do not forget the application of fluoride on the teeth to stop those bacteria
- In case of your child having chronic dry mouth, it is best to discuss this condition with your child dentist to brain storm ways to increase the amount of saliva produced.
:For more information from a medical point of view, watch this video
Hope these tops and tricks do work for you and your child. Do reach out with your experience and what worked for you and what didnt.
Just in case it did not lead to any improvement, do reach out and book an appointment HERE for a full assessment .of causes