Why Does My Child's Breath Smell Bad? Should I Be Concerned?

If you’ve recently smelled your child’s breath and it smelled terrible, you may be wondering why, especially if this persists for a few days or longer. Why would your child’s breath stink? Is this cause for concern? And what should you do about it? 

Get answers to all of these questions and more from Kingstowne Dental Specialists. We’ll discuss the most common things that contribute to bad breath (halitosis) in kids, and what you can do about this issue.

1. Improper Hydration/Dry Mouth

Improper hydration can cause your child’s saliva production to decrease. In turn, this may result in bad breath. Saliva helps neutralize acid in the mouth, and also washes away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them. Poor saliva flow can result in halitosis.

So make sure your child drinks enough water. If this doesn’t help, they could have “xerostomia” (dry mouth). This condition leads to poor saliva flow, and can be caused by a lot of different diseases, medications, and health problems. If you think your child has xerostomia, you should consult with their pediatrician. 

2. Poor Oral Hygiene

Has your little one recently taken over brushing duties? If their mouth starts to smell, this probably isn’t a coincidence. They may not be brushing properly, thoroughly, or for a long enough period of time. This can result in the buildup of nasty, stinky bacteria in their mouth. If your child recently started brushing on their own, we recommend observing them and making sure they do a good job. 

3. Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing tends to dry out the mouth, which leads to stinky, smelly breath. It can also indicate or even cause some types of oral development issues. If you notice your child breathes through their mouth frequently, you may want to get an orthodontic consultation at Kingstowne Dental Specialists. This could indicate anomalies in their oral development. 

4. Putting Your Child To Bed With Formula Or Milk 

Never put kids to bed with a bottle of formula or milk. If you do, the sugar in the milk will sit on their teeth, and be consumed by bacteria. Saliva flow is reduced during sleep, so your child’s mouth won’t be able to handle this situation. Significant buildup of bacteria will occur.

This may lead to a very smelly mouth in the morning. It can even cause “bottle mouth,” a severe form of decay that mainly affects the upper and lower teeth. 

5. Unrelated Infections & Diseases

Bad breath can be caused by other infections and illnesses. For example, sinus and upper respiratory infections cause bad breath because of bacteria buildup. Bad breath can also be caused by tonsil stones or tonsil infection (tonsillitis). 

Concerned About Your Child’s Breath? Come To Kingstowne Pediatric Dentistry! 

Often, halitosis in kids will go away with time. But if you’re worried about it and want to get to the bottom of the issue, Dr. Courtney Marzban is here to help in Alexandria. Contact Kingstowne Dental Specialists online or give us a call at (703) 493-0622 to schedule an appointment right away.

free first visit for kids under 15 months!