307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

How Can I Help My Child Prevent Bad Breath?

As adults, we can often laugh off minor embarrassments—bad breath, for example. We simply pop a breath mint or pull a stick of gum from a purse or desk drawer. For a child, however, unpleasant breath can be both bewildering and extremely humiliating. Adding to the problem, they rarely if ever have access to a toothbrush or gum during the school day. For these reasons it is important to understand why a child might have bad breath and what can be done. (By the way, we’ve scouted out an upcoming that event to enjoy with your kids—Carolling in Shrewsbury Town Common on December 23rd. Check it out here).

Why does my child have bad breath?

The most common source of recurring bad breath in children is also responsible for bad breath in adults: poor hygiene. At minimum, both you and your child should take care to brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, and flossing once a day. Take a few moments to watch your child perform his hygiene routine, ensuring that he:

  • Spends an equal amount of time brushing all teeth, not just a few
  • Uses dental floss properly (a clean section of floss for each space between teeth)
  • Spends at least two minutes brushing
  • Cleans the tongue

Bad breath caused by eating certain pungent foods, especially onions and garlic, is usually temporary and is not a cause for alarm. Interestingly, brushing one’s teeth after eating these foods is not likely to erase the unpleasant aftereffects. This is because unique compounds found naturally in these foods are actually absorbed by the body. By comparison, other smelly foods do not leave behind an odor unless trapped between teeth and throughout the mouth.

Less commonly, a child may develop bad breath as the result of an upper respiratory infection, common cold, or allergies. As an infection clears up, so does the malodor. Thrush, an oral fungal infection, is another possible cause. It has also been shown that a child who breathes or sleeps with her mouth open is more likely to suffer from chronic bad breath. This is because mouth breathing dries out the oral cavity that would otherwise rely on saliva to cleanse itself of food and bacteria. Finally, tonsillitis may cause unpleasant breath as well.

How can my child and I treat bad breath?

The goods is that many causes of bad breath can be easily and quickly resolved, particularly when hygiene is the issue. In addition to encouraging excellent hygiene, try these:

  • Making twice-a-year dental checkups a priority
  • Demonstrate the correct way you brush, floss, and clean the tongue
  • Limit consumption of caffeinated beverages, which have been shown to cause dry mouth
  • If possible, chew sugar-free gum or hard candy
  • Encourage your child to stay hydrated with water

About Your Shrewsbury Family Dentists

At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-8838 today.