Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, is a common health condition in which a persistent, unpleasant odour is present in the breath. It is most often caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth because of gum disease, food, or plaque. It affects a majority of the population, including both adults and children. 

Bad breath in children is a thing of concern for most parents and can be embarrassing for children. Let's take a look at the most common reasons why your child might develop bad breath.

Causes of Halitosis in Children

1. Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI): Most often, boys and girls develop halitosis as a side effect of some sort of upper respiratory tract infection. It may be due to a common cold, allergies, or the viral flu. 

When the nasal passages are blocked, it’s more likely that your child will breathe through the mouth. Breathing through the mouth can lead to drying up of the mouth, leading to chronic bad breath. 

2. Reduced Saliva Due to Medications: Mouth breathing may also occur if your youngster is put on medication that decreases saliva flow. Saliva plays a very important role in keeping your child’s mouth clean. Without enough saliva, bacteria will thrive, leading to a buildup of plaque or tartar, which is another common cause of bad breath. 

3. Tonsillitis: Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils (two oval-shaped pads of tissue at the back of the throat). Tonsillitis can cause the airway to become narrow or blocked. When your child’s airway is constricted, they are more likely to breathe through their mouth. 

When the tissues in your child’s mouth dry out, bacteria will grow and increase their potency. If you notice symptoms of tonsillitis in your child such as a fever, swollen throat, trouble swallowing, chills, or congestion, get your little one to your peadiatrician right away. 

4. Infections in the Mouth: Halitosis in children can also be caused by an infection in the mouth. If your child’s teeth or gums are infected, an unpleasant odour will develop if untreated. Infections can occur due to inadequate brushing and flossing, which can lead to gum disease or cavities.

If cavities are left untreated, a strong, noticeable odour develops due to infection. If you think your child has an infection or a cavity, schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist right away. 

Other causes of halitosis may be certain pungent foods your child eats or the build-up of bacteria on the tongue. Make sure your child brushes and flosses thoroughly every day. Certain types of mouthwashes may be beneficial for your child to alleviate bad breath caused by leftover bacteria in the mouth. Consult your child’s dentist to understand further.


Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.