Bad Breath in Children: What You Need to Know

Bad Breath in Children: What You Need to Know

After a tiring day, it’s so lovely to have someone you go home to, especially when it’s your child. They come running at you to give you your welcome home hug; however, as you lean closer to your child, you get to smell their breath. And truth be told, it was a foul odor.

Children are cute and all, but they are not exempted from developing a bad breath. They could experience them, too, even at a young age. Halitosis or bad breath does not only affect adults but kids too. This is a common struggle for parents.

Luckily, this blog will be your guide! Learn why children get bad breath, and more. Continue reading.

Can a child have bad breath?

Here is the definition of halitosis first as what most people call it, bad breath. Halitosis can be caused by various factors, ranging from not cleaning your teeth to specific medical problems.

Yes. Halitosis in kids also happens. Although it is not a big deal, some parents or guardians make a big deal out of it since it’s embarrassing. However, shaming children for their smelly breath would not help overcome the problem.

There are several reasons children experience this situation, like poor oral hygiene or smelly foods leaving a mark in the mouth, making it smell. Addressing the issue properly would be the best option you have.

7 Reasons why kids have bad breath or halitosis

Different factors affect a child’s breath smell. You can use natural halitosis remedies for some situations; however, some may require professional help from a pediatric dentist.

Expanding further on why there is bad breath in kids, teens, and toddlers, read more below.

Morning Breath

Every human being has experienced foul-smelling breath every time they wake up. Lack of saliva can cause bacteria to stay in the mouth. However, there’s no need to panic over this, as this can go away with teeth brushing.

Poor Oral Hygiene

There might be something wrong with your kid’s brushing routine. They might have poor brushing skills, or they might not be flossing enough. With this, rotting food particles and plaque would likely gather, and the stinky bacteria will emit a foul odor.

Tip: Tongue brushing is also necessary! Make sure to remind your kids to brush their tongues.

Dental Concerns

Cavities, infections, and loose restorations are all dental concerns your child might be experiencing. Bacteria may also gather up with a loose dental restoration. Worse, abscessed teeth and oral sores can cause kids to have very foul breath since it’s an infection. Lastly, with tooth decay, the tendency of the food to get trapped in is high- resulting in smelly breath.

Read more: How are Cavities in Baby Teeth Treated?

Dry Mouth

This is different with morning breath, as this can last longer since it’s a medical condition. The cause is also the slow saliva flow, which gathers a buildup of bacteria and food particles. Therefore, making the mouth smell.

Another term for dry mouth is Xerostomia.

Mouth breathing

Beware if you notice your toddler breathing through their mouth because of a stuffy nose or habit. Chronic mouth breathing can cause bad breath in toddlers. This scenario creates a dry mouth, which causes odor-causing bacteria. Orthodontic issues may arise due to this, which you should fix as soon as possible.

Stinky foods

Keep an eye on the food your kid consumes, as sometimes they love food that causes odor. Sulfur-producing foods, such as garlic and onion, should be avoided as they lead to bad breath. Worse is that it stays in the mouth for hours, and even after proper brushing, it would still stay! Luckily, it goes away over time, so you’ll just have to wait.

Something in the nose

Kids are playful; thus, sticking something in their nose is very common. So, if you get a whiff of your child’s breath, and it’s not good, you might want to check if something’s stuck in their nose. Bad breath can happen even if you have an excellent oral hygiene routine, because when something gets stuck, nasal secretions, bad smell, and inflammation come after. It would be better to seek medical help if you observe a dark green mucus from their nostril.

What causes bad breath in children even after brushing?

Your child has top-notch oral hygiene practices, and they regularly brush their teeth. And they don’t forget to floss and brush their tongue. However, you notice that there is still a foul smell lingering in your kid’s mouth. What could be the problem?

There are many causes of halitosis, and some could be an oral health concern that needs immediate dental action.

Medical factors that may cause halitosis in children

Notice how your children still experience bad breath, even regular brushing? Well, that’s because it stems from medical factors.

Large tonsils

The pits may also grow tonsil stones, which disintegrate and emit an unpleasant odor. Oral and nasal secretions, leftover food debris, and germs might get stuck if your kid has enlarged tonsils. There could also be a buildup of bacteria due to the swollen tonsils. If this happens, use a flashlight to check the back of their throat.

Sinus infection

If you have a cough, it’s typical for mucus to collect on the back of your tongue. Bacteria produce foul-smelling gases as they feed on gunk. Therefore, sinus infections also cause bad breath.

Gum disease

This reason may come up rarely, but kids also experience gum disease! The bacteria and chemicals in plaque can cause gum inflammation and infection if soft plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) accumulate around, beneath, and between the teeth (gingivitis). Bad breath is a common sign of gum disease in children.


If your child is taking meds, then it might be because of it. Medications sometimes cause bad breath, too, because of the way the body breaks down the medicine. Taking medications can cause dry mouth, wherein saliva flows down, making the breath smell foul.

How you can get rid of bad breath from children

Regular Dental Checkups

It would be nice to visit pediatric dentists regularly. The dentist for kids will provide them with proper cleaning and detailed instruction on maintaining the routine at home. Your kids should have routine dental check ups since they can identify and monitor problems like plaque buildup, tartar, cavities, mouth sores, and tooth sensitivity early on before they become significant issues.

Consistent and effective oral care routine

Regular brushing could prevent bad breath in kids. Additionally, brushing thoroughly is recommended. They should also consider flossing their teeth so there would be no tartar buildup. It would also be helpful to create guidelines for brushing.

For example:

  1. Create a routine your kid should follow. For example, they must brush every day, after every meal.
  2. Make them brush for two minutes. You can make them finish listening to a two-minute song while brushing, so brushing would last for two minutes.
  3. Let them pick their toothbrush and toothpaste. It would make them excited!

Natural halitosis remedies

Even these natural treatments can help with the symptoms of halitosis, and they aren’t a solution. This won’t work if your child’s foul breath is caused by gum disease or another medical issue like infections or plaque and tartar. Nevertheless, here is your bad breath remedy list:

  • Replace toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.
  • Chew a mint.
  • Make a mouthwash by combining 1 cup water, one teaspoon baking soda, and one drop of peppermint essential oil.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Tips to remember in preventing bad breath with kids

You can follow these tips to prevent your child from acquiring halitosis.

  1. Create a brushing routine. You can follow the pattern mentioned above.
  2. Don’t give your kids sugary gums.
  3. Make them consume healthy food and less starchy foods.
  4. Don’t let kids skip breakfast in the morning. Eating and drinking will kick-start their saliva production and help with morning breath.
  5. Change their toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.

Read More: Top 10 Dental Care for Babies

Need help in dealing with bad breath in children? Call up Junior Smiles of Stafford

Bad breath can be alarming, and some situations may call for medical help. If you are among the population of Stafford, Virginia, and neighboring communities, you might want to beep the most trusted team of pediatric dentists, Junior Smiles of Stafford.

They provide the finest quality kid dental treatment, including disease prevention and oral health education. See for yourself their quality service by contacting them here.