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Bad breath, or halitosis, in youngsters is often due to bacteria developing between teeth or on the back of the tongue. Poor oral hygiene is generally the cause for plaque build-up, which contains bacteria. When children (and adults, for that matter) do not brush and floss properly, the bacteria deposits can cause tartar, tooth decay, gum disease, and smelly breath.

Food and drink can cause bad breath

Certain foods can turn anyone’s breath stinky, like onions and garlic, for example. The smelly sulfur compounds in garlic and onions linger in your mouth and are expelled when you exhale. Cheese, fish, and orange juice are also common odor causes. If you have teens that drink coffee, remind them that it creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. Coffee also has a drying effect, which reduces saliva and allows bad breath to linger longer. Generally, food-caused breath odor is temporary and easily remedied with proper brushing and flossing.

When bad breath is not caused by food

If your child has bad breath regardless of their diet, the dentist may refer him to a pediatrician. Bad breath can result from certain health conditions. A sinus infection or post-nasal drip may be a cause, but it will pass after several days or treatment with medication. Strep throat and similar illnesses can also affect the odor of breath. Chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth are other causes. Seek medical advice about possible treatments.

Do not let bad breath affect your child’s lifestyle or confidence. Make sure all of your family members brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss each evening to remove particles and debris. Tongue cleaning is also very helpful for removing the smell from food and drink. When it is time for the kids’ next appointment, please consider visiting us at Brier Creek Pediatric Dentistry. We would love to see you!