When your child suffers from halitosis (bad breath) it’s often assumed that they have just eaten food that causes foul breath. However, if this happens frequently despite regular tooth brushing, it could be a sign that something else is going on.
Whether your child has an infection, inadequate saliva, a buildup of plaque, or some other condition, the best way to identify the root of the problem is to take your child to the dentist. In this blog from The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids, we’re discussing some of the most common sources of halitosis in kids.
While you may be consistently brushing your child’s teeth because their breath smells bad, think about if your child has maintained consistent good oral hygiene up until now. While it’s always a good thing to start frequently brushing and flossing, the damage may already be done if your child has a buildup of plaque or tartar in their mouth from old poor brushing habits.
Plaque and tartar need to be removed at the dentist through scaling and root planing. You won’t be able to remove it by brushing your teeth. If left untreated, food particles stuck between the teeth can lead to bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay.
Food that is stuck between the teeth can be a source of foul odor but so can plaque and dental infections. Persistent bad breath and decay can also be a sign of gum disease.
Sinus Infection, Swollen Tonsils, or Acid Reflux - If your child has swollen tonsils or a sinus infection, then they have a buildup of bacteria in their nose and throat. Oftentimes this bacteria will give off a foul odor and you will be able to visibly see the bacteria in the back of the throat, around the tonsils.
Dry Mouth - Dry mouth can be a result of mouth breathing, dehydration, a side effect of medications, or certain medical conditions. Lack of saliva is a very common cause of bad breath. Saliva has the important job of washing away bacteria that cause bad breath. When there isn't enough saliva in the mouth, this bacteria lingers, causing a foul smell and an increased risk of tooth decay.
Other Medical Conditions - Many medical conditions are associated with bad breath, such as diabetes which causes dry mouth, acid reflux, liver or kidney problems, or stomach infections. If all other possibilities have been ruled out, try taking your child to the doctor to get evaluated for certain medical conditions that could be causing halitosis.
When you first notice signs of halitosis in your child, you should first try to implement a good oral hygiene routine such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and tongue scraping.
They should brush for at least two minutes and attend dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months to eliminate plaque buildup and make sure they aren’t developing tooth decay or gum disease.
If your child has persistent bad breath that isn’t responding to tooth brushing, contact us at The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids. Schedule a checkup and cleaning with Dr. Sal Colombo or Dr. Yasi Colombo today.