Children aren’t the best at maintaining hygiene. When there’s so much to learn and explore, who can blame them for wanting to forego the dull, daily routine of washing? Of course, as a parent, you understand the importance of making sure kids bathe and brush their teeth regularly. Bad hygiene can not only lead to illness and social embarrassment; it can also develop into bad habits that are hard to correct in adolescence and adulthood.
When children are young, it’s easy to make them brush, floss, and rinse – in fact, you may find yourself doing it for them for the first couple of years, at least. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to teach them to do it themselves and let them learn and perfect their oral hygiene regimen. This could lead to problems like halitosis if they aren’t brushing and flossing properly or if they find ways to skip the routine.
Halitosis isn’t only caused by poor oral hygiene. There could also be much more serious reasons why your child is suffering bad breath. Here’s what parents should know about halitosis in kids and how they can prevent or treat it.
Potential Causes of Halitosis
Poor oral hygiene is one potential cause of halitosis that’s fairly common for children, especially if you don’t pay close attention to their brushing habits. The easy solution here is to either observe your children brushing and flossing and correct lazy habits as needed, or simply ask to smell their breath when they claim to have completed the task.
Just be aware that kids who insist they brushed but still have bad breath could be telling the truth. Halitosis could have any number of causes. For instance, some small children like to put foreign objects in their noses. If items remain lodged in the nose for a time without you noticing, the result could be a buildup of pus that drains through the sinuses, causing a foul smell.
Children that suffer from tooth misalignment might have a harder time brushing and flossing, leading to plaque and tartar buildup, and eventually, gum disease and tooth decay. One common symptom of these issues is bad breath.
Kids that suck on pacifiers or fingers, or that breath through their mouth or snore, could suffer dry mouth. Without bacteria to wash away odor-causing bacteria, bad breath could result. Some medicines cause dry mouth and bad breath.
Ailments like asthma, allergies, colds, and sinus infections could lead to halitosis. Children with deep grooves in tonsils could frequently get particles of food stuck there, resulting in bad breath. Even the foods your children eat (such as garlic, red meat, and sugary snacks) could cause halitosis.
The point is that poor hygiene is only one potential cause of halitosis, so if your child insists that he/she is brushing and flossing regularly, or you monitor oral hygiene and bad breath is still a problem, it’s a good idea to speak to your child’s dentist about other possible causes and how to treat them.
Diagnosing the underlying causes of halitosis is the first step toward treating this condition, so you’ll want to pay a visit to your child’s dentist. From there you can discuss the best way to treat the cause and the symptoms.
Proper oral hygiene is a must, of course. When children are brushing and flossing correctly after meals and seeing the dentist for regular cleaning and examination, they have the best chance to avoid halitosis and prevent other oral health concerns like gum disease and tooth decay.
You should also address possible dietary issues that could contribute to the problem. Avoiding pungent spices like garlic and onions is a good place to start, and you should also consider the amount of high-protein foods like red meat, fish, and cheese in the diet, as these can cause bad breath. Look for foods that get stuck in teeth, like sticky candy, sugary snacks, and crunchy potato chips. Eliminating such foods is not only good for oral health, but overall health.
There’s not a lot you can do about ailments or physical concerns while kids are young. If enlarged tonsils become problematic, removal is a possibility down the line. In the meantime, you can avoid foods like nuts or chips that are more likely to stick in the tonsils and fester. You can treat colds and allergies in a variety of ways to minimize symptoms. As for objects in the nose, frequent inspection can help.