Don’t neglect bad breath in children

Bad breath is a turn off not only amongst adults, but even for the younger children and toddlers, becausesmell is something which can be sensed by even infants. Apart from becoming a major social obstacle for kids, bad breath also indicates problems like poor oral hygiene, dental infections, side effects of medication, etc.

Children are a very innocent lot when it comes to realizing what bad breath or poor hygiene of the mouth means, and what could be its consequences. Your child may even ignore tooth pain and start eating from the other side of the mouth assuming it’s probably normal to have a tooth ache. As parents, it is our duty to keep a regular check on their teeth, gums and tongue.

Let’s look at the most common reasons behind a bad breath and how one can overcome the same–

  1. Poor dental hygiene –

More than 90% of bad breath cases are due to accumulation of food particles in between teeth that produce sulphur gases which have a foul odour. Such spots become breeding grounds for bacteria causing bad breath. Children these days, have strong cravings for sugary stuff like chocolates, doughnuts, cream biscuits, pastries, etc. It should become a regime to brush teeth and cleanse the mouth, at least after such sweet consumptions.

Solution: Brushing the teeth properly and frequently will help prevent build-up of plaque, especially after sugary treats. It is also essential to change the toothbrush every few months, as dull bristles will not remove the plaque and debris effectively.

  1. Breathing from the mouth –

Probably due to a blocked nose or sinus infection, the child may get into the habit of breathing from the mouth rather than the nose. It may also be due to a sleep habit. In such a case, the mouth becomes dry and the reduction of flow of saliva does not wash away the bacteria, due to which foul odour develops in the mouth.

Solution: Please check with a paediatrician if your child has a stuffy nose and get him/her rid of any sinus infections.

  1. Poor tongue hygiene –

Tongue is bacteria’s second most favourite spot to reside. If not cleaned everyday while brushing teeth, the bacteria on the tongue will remain there and start multiplying causing a bad breath.

Solution: Teach children to use a tongue cleaner as a daily ritual while brushing their teeth and explain to them that it is equally important to maintain a clean, bacteria-free tongue.

  1. Dental infections –

Bad breath can also be a result of various infections in the mouth like mouth sores, cavities, plaque build-up, root canals, surgery, etc. These days, even preschoolers and primary-schoolers have become prone to cavities which sometimes progress further to become root canal issues, thanks to the lifestyle in today’s generation. So then it becomes very important for the child to undergo a root canal treatment and resolve this issue. Saving a baby (milk) tooth is just as important as saving an adult permanent tooth. The untimely loss of baby teeth can hamper speech development, chewing style and the alignment of newly developing adult permanent teeth.

  1. Certain foods causing foul odour –

Some foods like onion, garlic, broccoli, etc. that have a strong odour, will definitely cause a bad breath even after cleansing the mouth. The only way this smell gets eliminated from the body is by breathing, sweating or using the washroom. One can only reduce the odour to an extent by following up with something sweet or a mint-based drink. The only way to not have this odour is to avoid eating these foods.

Bad breath is a serious issue and must never be ignored because it can affect the child psychologically and emotionally when they are socially excluded by their friends and peers. This may even lead to growing up of an anxious child. Recent studies also prove that nitrites produced by the bacteria can cause headaches and other systemic issues.

So parents, after reading this piece, there must not be any doubt about why and how imperative it is, to take care of your child’s dental and oral health. A dentally sound child makes a happy, smiling, and confident child! J




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