Can Children Develop Bad Breath?

Many people do not realize that children can develop bad breath. Most bad breath issues in kids are temporary. For children, the bad breath causes can be just as varied as for adults. However, there can be medical issues related, so it is important to figure out the cause.

Causes Of A Child’s Bad Breath

-Poor Dental Hygiene

Malodor can occur, if a child does not work to keep their teeth, gums, and tongue clean.

-Food Choices

If a child chooses to eat foods with garlic or onions their breath may be affected just like in adults.


Children commonly develop bad breath because of an upper respiratory infection. This infection can include the common cold, postnasal drip, or allergies. Treatment will depend on the cause but it can be difficult to treat if these are chronic issues. An oral fungal infection can also lead to bad breath.


This can also cause bad breath in kids. When the tonsils become inflamed it can restrict a child’s airway leading to more mouth breathing than usual. Mouth breathing can lead to a drying out of the oral tissues thus making the infection worse. Saliva acts as a natural lubricant of our oral tissues cleaning them over and over again. Large tonsil craters may also be the cause, food can become lodged in the pits of the tonsils and slowly decompose.

Tooth Decay

If there is a large untreated cavity it can cause bad breath. If this is the case you need to see your dentist immediately.

-Intestinal Issues

May be an issue for bad breath if you are feeling gassy (burping) or vomiting your stomach contents. There may also be a residual coating on the tongue from bringing up stomach acids, this will cause malodor.

-Medication Use

Certain medications will lead to a drying of the oral tissues which can also lead to bad breath in children.


Uncontrolled diabetes eventually results in ketoacidosis, causing the breath to have an acetone  odor.

Treatment Of Bad Breath

This can include:

Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, rinsing, and regular dental cleanings.

Gargle. This can help remove food from tonsils, and clean the back of the tongue.

Reduce Dry Mouth. Drink water, limit juice and soda pop. Try oil pulling therapy.

Medical Evaluation. Treat Infections of the body. See a doctor to evaluate ulcers or gastritis. Improve your health and you will see an immediate decrease in bad breath.

Chew gum with xylitol.

Evaluate your diet. Dairy items such as cheese and yogurt can cause bad breath. Limit sugars.

Try a neutralizing productClosys is a spray applied to the back of the tongue to neutralize volatile sulfur compounds. Neutralizers don’t mask with mint flavors, they actually remove the problem.

Bad Breath Conclusion

While bad breath in children can be a temporary nuisance, long term breath issues need to be evaluated. An increase in hygiene is always a good first attempt to rid your child of breath issues, but medical issues will not resolve by hygiene alone. If you have tried and do not see a change, talk to your dentist and pediatrician about it.

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