Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a major turnoff and is prevalent not only amongst adults but even in younger children and toddlers. More often than not, it’s only temporary and goes away easily. Besides being a major social obstacle, bad breath can also be a measure for pointing out greater issues such as poor oral hygiene, dental infections, side effects of medication, etc.
Children are almost entirely unaware when it comes to realizing what bad breath or poor hygiene can lead to. It’s also not improbable to assume that a child may even ignore slight tooth pain and start eating from the other side of the mouth instead. A child might believe it’s probably normal to have a tooth ache. As vigilant parents, it is our duty and responsibility to keep a track of your child’s teeth, gums and tongue and check for any telling signs which may point out infection of any sorts.
Let’s look at the most common reasons behind a bad breath and what can be done about it.
Poor dental hygiene
Nearly 90 per cent of all bad breath cases stems from the accumulation of food particles in between teeth. Bacteria thrive in such areas, causing bad breath. The resultant bacteria tend to produce sulfur gases which emit a foul odor that results in bad breath. Children often snack on food items such as chocolates, pastries, chips and tend to ignore brushing their teeth afterward. It imperative that your children brush their teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to bed. Further, it’s also vital to change the toothbrush every few months, as dull bristles won’t be able to get rid of accumulated plaque and debris effectively
Breathing through the mouth
Owing to a blocked nose, sinus infection or improper sleeping habits, some children get into the knack of breathing through their mouth rather than the nose. In such cases, the mouth tends to become dry which results in a reduction of saliva. A reduction in saliva in the mouth can impair the mouth’s ability to fight the bacteria that causes the bad breath resulting in foul odor emanating from the mouth. Make sure you consult a pediatrician to check if your child is suffering from a stuffy nose or if he has any sinus infections so that it can be immediately treated.
Poor tongue hygiene
Tongue hygiene is often ignored. Not only is the tongue bacteria’s second most favorite spot for bacteria to accumulate, if not cleaned on a daily basis along with your teeth, the bacteria on the tongue will remain there and start multiplying causing a bad breath. Therefore, it’s paramount that you teach your child on using a tongue cleaner as a daily basis while brushing.
Several infections in the mouth such as mouth sores, cavities, plaque build-up, root canals, surgery, etc, if left untreated, can also result in bad breath. It becomes essential for the child to undergo proper treatment and resolve this issue on a priority basis to avoid the condition from worsening further. Moreover, curious children will sometimes nibble or chew objects, like toys, foreign objects and inadvertently even stick it up their nose. Stay vigilant and in case you find any object stuck, try to remove it gently or consult your doctor immediately. Not only can this be dangerous, but can also lead to a foul-smelling discharge emerging from the nostril where the object is stuck.
Certain foods causing foul odor
Certain foods such as onion, garlic, broccoli, etc. that have a strong odor, and can definitely affect a child’s breath as they go through his digestive system. The only solution for getting rid of this smell is by breathing, sweating or using the washroom. Further, food like candies or soda can also be harmful as it not only leads to a build up of bacteria but also can result in various teeth-related infections as well.
Bad breath is a serious issue and should never be taken lightly because it can affect the child psychologically and emotionally. Recent studies have also proven that nitrites produced by the bacteria can further lead to headaches and other systemic issues. Whenever in doubt, do get in touch with your doctor or dentist. They will be able to figure out if there’s something else behind your bad breath and help you tackle it quickly and effectively.