A few weeks ago, my very animated, unfiltered 6 year-old son told me that he didn’t want to talk to his friend at summer camp anymore because he had stinky breath. After explaining to him that many people have stinky breath when they wake up in the morning, eat lots of garlic, or even when they aren’t feeling well, he decided that stinky breath wasn’t a deal breaker for friendship.
Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is not just an issue for adults. Kids can have halitosis too so, with this in mind, I went to a reliable source to get some answers about its prevalence, causes, and how to prevent it.
Dr. Stoker and Dr. McCool from The Smile Shop weigh in on this common finding among pediatric dental patients.
In your practice, is halitosis a concern for parents?
Yes, it’s very common for parents to be concerned about their child’s breath. We commonly associate bad breath as an adult problem. As parents, we don’t expect our cute little kids to have “dragon breath.” It’s important to address, and most don’t realize that contributing factors between adult bad breath and a child’s breath may be different.
What causes it?
Often, it’s bacteria in the mouth causing the odor. But other factors, such as allergies, chronic rhinitis, gastric reflux, infections, and other medical issues can cause bad breath too. Kids with enlarged tonsil and adenoids, and kids who breathe more through their mouth than their nose are also at risk for bad breath.
When should a child see a doctor over a dentist for bad breath?
If a parent suspects an illness, inflamed tonsils or reflux, they should also make an appointment with the child’s physician.
What are some effective remedies to get rid of bad breath?
The first step is to keep your child’s mouth as clean as possible. Making sure that your child brushes regularly and thoroughly is very important. Brushing their tongue and using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the back of the tongue can also help. Encouraging your child to drink lots of water and ensuring he/she eats a healthy diet will also help avoid or control halitosis. Over the counter mouth rinses to freshen breath are also available.
Concerned about your child’s breath? Want more tips? Make an appointment at The Smile Shop today!