Bad breath in a child is not normal; it should not be ignored; and it can discourage adults from interacting with them.
People of any age can develop bad breath, and the problem could be chronic. This problem is not limited just to adults because children, too, can have bad breath.
Bad breath is also called halitosis and there may be several reasons for it. The good news is that bad breath in children can be treated.
Causes of Bad Breath in Kids
Some causes are more serious than others. Unless there are other symptoms, it is probable that the causes of bad breath in children can be found in the child’s mouth. These problems may include:
Eating Smelly Foods
As you know, some foods can cause bad breath. If these foods are eaten regularly, a child may often have bad breath.
Some offending foods include garlic, onions, soda and cheese. If this is the case, a simple remedy would be that of more frequent brushing of the teeth.
Poor Oral Hygiene
If the child is not taking very good care of their teeth, this will often result in bad breath. A lack of good and regular oral care will lead to an increased amount of the bacteria in the mouth that produces bad breath.
These same bacteria also produce acid – and that is what causes cavities. Brushing regularly twice a day will generally take care of this problem.
It is also important to teach the child to brush the tongue at the same time because bacteria will accumulate on it.
If a child is active and plays outside a lot, this can lead to a lack of fluids in the body.
When there are enough fluids, saliva is readily produced that will remove much of the oral bacteria that cause bad breath.
Staying hydrated is important to keep the bacteria under control and to reduce cavities. It the child regularly breathes through the mouth, this will also reduce saliva.
Too Many Sweets
The bacteria that cause bad breath and cavities feed on sugar. The more sugar that a person eats the faster the bacteria will grow. Bacteria that’s left on the teeth will produce more bacteria and acid.
One way to reduce the impact of sugar on the teeth is to have the child rinse their mouth with water after consuming a sugary drink or food.
The presence of cavities can also cause halitosis. The bigger the cavity, the worse the problem will be.
Cavities are caused by the same bacteria that produce bad breath. The decay in a tooth or teeth will lead to breath that is less than pleasant.
Once a cavity has appeared, the only way to eliminate bad breath is to have the cavity filled.
Buildup of Tartar
If the teeth are not cleaned regularly, plaque will build up on them. Before long, the plaque turns into tartar, which cannot be removed with a toothbrush.
The tartar forms at the gum line and soon expands below it. The bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath in children will also cause gum disease eventually.
With mild gum disease, the gums will bleed when the teeth are brushed, and they may be red and inflamed.
When there is an infection around a tooth, this could be an abscessed tooth. The infection may also be in the tooth.
Although the pus may drain, it will not stop on its own. This problem is potentially very serious and needs to be treated right away. It could even be fatal if the infection spreads to the brain.
The infection may be accompanied by a fever, pain in the neck, ear or jawbone; possible swelling of the face, cheek or lymph nodes in the neck; pain when biting, and possible difficulty breathing.
After the bacteria get into the gums, it can cause mild gum disease (gingivitis) or more severe gum disease (periodontitis).
Once it becomes more advanced, the child will need a dentist to remove it. As it advances, it can destroy the ligaments that support the teeth and the jawbone.
Over time, this will cause the teeth to become loose and they may even fall out. In most cases, people can prevent gum disease by brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing.
Children and adults can have bad breath as a result of dental problems. Taking a child for regular dental visits can help ensure healthy teeth and gums, enabling them to look beautiful for many years. Regular oral care can help control bad breath in most cases.
Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.