Bad Breath in Children: Causes and Cures

Written by Dr. McConnell on Sep 14, 2021

Two smiling children

Help Your Kids Prevent Bad Breath!

Bad breath, known clinically as halitosis, can happen to anybody, including children. Here at Marin Modern Dentistry, we can help parents identify the source of their children’s bad breath and then develop solutions to fixing the problem. Any specialist in the field of family dentistry in Novato knows what a problem bad breath can be in kids, so developing strong brushing habits early and finding solutions to other potential problems can help them nip the issue before it escorts them into adulthood.


Causes of Bad Breath in Children


There are a handful of things that could cause bad breath in children. These include:


1. Poor Brushing Habits


One of the most common causes of bad breath in people of any age is poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are meant to rid your child’s teeth of food remnants, but since kids aren’t always great at brushing correctly, they can miss things that end up making for a stinky mouth. The better they brush, the less their breath smells! 


2. Infections or Diseases


There are some pediatric diseases or possible infections that can cause bad breath in children, as well, such as sinus infections, swollen tonsils, diabetes, or in rare cases conditions like kidney failure, liver problems, or cancer of the mouth. If you’re concerned about any of these, it’d be wise to see a dentist right away.


3. Lodged Foreign Objects


Children—especially young children—are known for sometimes getting things stuck in their nasal passages, and this can actually cause bad breath. If you’re worried that a child has a pea or a bean or even a small piece of a toy lodged in their nasal cavity, the experts at Marin Modern Dentistry can help to get it out.


4. Dry Mouth


Sucking thumbs, pacifier use, and some medications can cause dry mouth in children, which also is a common cause of bad breath. Saliva plays a big role in washing away stinky bacteria, so a dry mouth can become a foul-smelling mouth, too.


How to Fix Bad Breath in Children


As your Novato dentist for children, Marin Modern Dentistry suggests trying one or more of the following approaches to curing your child’s bad breath:


  • Improve poor brushing habits by encouraging children to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. The younger the child, the more likely they will need help brushing correctly. Children up to seven years old still need assistance getting all the plaque off their teeth.
  • While brushing, make sure your child also brushes their tongue, which often is a place where odorous bacteria like to hang out.
  • As soon as your child is old enough to have teeth that touch, help them floss.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your dentist so if there is an injection, disease, or lodged object, they can find it and help you come up with solutions to those issues.


If you’d like help diagnosing and curing your child’s bad breath, give us a call at Marin Modern Dentistry any time so we can help solve the problem. Halitosis is never fun, but the good news is that with kids especially, there’s usually a fairly easy fix. As your Novato dentist for children, we’re always happy to help!