Bad Breath In Children

by Sam Malone


Bad breath or Halitosis is a term given to unpleasant smelling breath. This occurrence is quite common among adults as well as children. Bad breath is hard to ignore, and it is usually the first thing that is noticed during a conversation. In fact, having bad breath can adversely affect social dealings and lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem. People who suffer from it usually start shunning social interactions for the fear of being judged and laughed at. It may sound like a harmless condition, but halitosis can have far-reaching psychological implications.

Children are prone to bad breath as well due to a variety of reasons. Since they are so little and still learning motor skills, they may not be cleaning their teeth well enough. This can lead to an ideal environment for mouth bacteria to thrive and grow. Diet is also an important factor that contributes to bad breath. Let us take a look at various reasons that can cause halitosis in children, after which we can also discuss some home remedies that can cure bad breath in kids.

Causes

  • Oral hygiene is a very important factor that contributes to healthy teeth and gums. As cliché as it sounds, regularly brushing teeth is the first step to fighting bacteria in the mouth. Children are especially vulnerable to mouth bacteria. Certain dentists recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth until the age of six. This is because the motor skills of the child are still underdeveloped and the child may not be able to brush thoroughly on his/her own. The child may start brushing independently at the age of eight under parental supervision. Showing the child how to brush properly and giving them lessons on how to clean the tongue and the roof of the mouth will help them learn to take care of their teeth and prevent bad breath in the long run.
  • Diet plays a very important factor in oral hygiene. Children are fond of sweet food items. Candy and fizzy drinks are enough to make a child’s day. However, these are not only filled with empty calories but also encourage bacteria to grow in the mouth. Substituting these food items with healthier snacks is a good way to ensure oral hygiene. Letting the child drink milk or juice right before naptime is not a good idea because this encourages the growth of mouth bacteria. In addition, thumb sucking or using the pacifier after the age of two encourages bacteria in the mouth as well.  It is best to gradually wean away from these habits. Not only will it ensure healthy teeth but will also contribute to a healthy body.
  • Bad breath can also be a sign of another illness. Children who have sinus problems may suffer from halitosis. Post nasal drip can also cause bad breath in children. Bad breath can also occur when there is a foreign object in the nose. This usually happens to really small children.  Sometimes, halitosis may have a distinct odor. This is usually the sign of a serious medical condition. Please always consult a doctor if you feel that bad breath in your child maybe indicative of a more serious illness. Immediate medical intervention will help to prevent further complications.

Home Remedies

Oral hygiene and diet are very important factors that directly link up to bad breath in children. In addition, let us take a look at a few simple remedies that can help to prevent bad breath. As a word of caution, these remedies can only help to a certain extent and cannot completely cure halitosis. Always consult a doctor for an expert opinion.

  • Often, the tongue is left out during the routine of brushing teeth. This can encourage bacteria to grow in the mouth. Teaching your child how to clean the tongue and the roof of the mouth can help to resolve oral issues especially bad breath. Tongue cleaners are commonly available and one can also use the toothbrush to get the job done.
  • Gargling after every meal can help to clear the mouth of offensive bacteria. Mouthwashes are commonly available at supermarkets. However, it can be made at home as well using extracts of sage, calendula and myrrh. Gargling with mouthwash helps to expel food particles that are lodged within the mouth and leaves a fresh aftertaste.
  • Chewing a sprig of parsley can help to battle mouth odor in kids. Parsley is an herb that is used in cooking; it has a pleasant taste, so children would like to chew on it. It is also known to help with the digestive process. Too much parsley, however, can have side effects, so it is best to limit consumption.
  • Another common home remedy is the use apple cider vinegar. To make a mouthwash for children, dilute a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water. However, like parsley, too much consumption can lead to negative side effects.

References:

  1. http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/dental_care/infant_child_dental_care/pages/index.aspx
  2. http://www.nyu.edu/dental/patientinfo/pediatric.pdf

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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