Bad breath in children is common. Children munch too many foods that are too sugary or sticky. These foods when left in the teeth and mouth serve as a haven for breeding bacteria causing bacterial dental infection and caries. This dental caries and decay is the main cause of smelly breath in children.
Causes of bad breath in children-
Decrease in saliva-
Saliva in the mouth helps in removing and flushing away bacteria from the mouth keeping the mouth bacteria free. However, children often sleep a lot and during sleep saliva is not secreted in the mouth. So, the more children sleep the more bacteria (anaerobic) that cause bad breath multiplies and increases causing chronic bad breath also called as children morning breath.
Breathing through mouth-
Smelly mouth during the day may be because of dry mouth. Breathing through the mouth causes dry mouth providing excellent surrounding for the anaerobic bacteria to thrive and multiply in number. Drying of the mouth in children can be due to habits like thumb sucking, thus causing bad breath. Mouth breathing in children may be because of obstruction in the nasal passages. Nasal passages blockage may be due to sinus infections, allergies, tonsils, colds and enlarged adenoids.
Remedies to stop bad breath in children-
- Brushing teeth and tongue- Brushing teeth regularly and properly will help your child to get rid of bacteria and bad breath. Encourage your child to make a habit of brushing teeth after eating. Flossing is extremely vital in removing food debris in between the teeth that would otherwise harbor bacteria to form plague. Don’t forget to brush the tongue. You can get an electric toothbrush for your child for scrapping off any food debris from below the tongue.
- Rinsing the mouth- Rinsing your child mouth with antibacterial mouthwashes or those containing fluoride will kill bacteria and prevent plague formation. Also use toothpaste that contains fluoride and baking soda for better and stronger tooth enamel and preventing bacterial infection.
- Chewing sugarless gums- Older children can be provided with sugarless gums such as xylitol several times in a day and after food. This will encourage saliva production in the mouth and prevent dry mouth which will in turn inhibit bacterial growth and multiplication. Thus, decreasing bad breath.
- Diet- Make dietary changes for your child. Instead of starchy carbohydrates and sugars, feed your child with whole fruits, wheat and vegetables. Give plain sugarless yoghurt to your child to reduce the level of hydrogen sulphide production. Offer your child to munch on apples, carrots, berries, pears and any chewy snacks to increase saliva production in the mouth and prevent dry mouth. Allow to chew spices such as fennel seeds, mints and cinnamon to lessen bad breath. Eating parsley in meals or after food will help to get rid of bad breath in children.
In spite of all these remedies if your child still continues to give out bad breath, show him to a doctor as the cause may be some other severe underlying reason.
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