What Causes Bad Breath in Kids? and How To Treat It?


Bad breath is a fairly common problem in children, which may stem from a variety of sources, including diet or mild gum disease. Bad breath in children has always been a tough case to deal with. Kids are extremely fond of candies, desserts, and other fast foods which contain garlic, onions, onion powder, etc. that leave an unpleasant smell in their mouth. Their favorite breakfast also includes garlic bread or toast that leaves them with bad breath most mornings. Babies have sweet-smelling breath that often smells like formula or milk, but most children grow out of this when they’re toddlers. By the time kids reach elementary school age, their breath should be fairly mild. However, children can develop bad breath from a variety of causes. And when kids have chronic bad breath, it’s often a sign of periodontal disease or from consuming too many sugars in their diet.

Ten Causes of Bad Breath in Kids

Kids can suffer from mild gum disease (gingivitis) as adults do, and the bad breath that often follows is a side effect. But other causes of chronic bad breath in children include:

1. Poor dental hygiene

Children who aren’t taught proper tooth care from an early age may be at risk for gum disease and suffer from chronically bad breath as a result. In addition, kids who skip brushing their teeth altogether run the risk of developing cavities, which can lead to chronic bad breath.

2. Dry mouth or cottonmouth

Children who breathe through their mouths while they sleep are at greater risk for waking up with a dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. This condition causes unpleasant breath because saliva helps keep the entire mouth moist and rids it of bacteria that cause bad breath and other mouth odors.

3. Food

Many types of food can cause bad breath, including garlic or onion-based dishes, meat products, and high-sugar foods like candy and soda. However, kids shouldn’t be blamed for their family’s poor dietary choices; parents should look at their own diets if they’re concerned about the food their kids are eating. Kids absorb what they eat, so it’s important to eliminate the same types of foods that might be causing bad breath.

4. Nasal or sinus infections

If your child has a lingering stuffy nose, he may breathe through his mouth more often than not, which puts him at risk for chronic bad breath. Excess mucus that accumulates in the back of the throat can also lead to bad breath.

5. Mouth taping

If your child’s mouth is taped shut at night, this may have an odor-producing effect on his breath.

6. Dry objects

Your child may suck on nonfood items like pencils, gloves, or toys, which can cause bad breath.

7. Genetics

This is partly to blame for your child’s chronic bad breath, but there’s no reason to stress about it if you have a healthy diet and maintain good oral hygiene two times per day.

8. Mouth breathing

When a child breathes through his mouth all the time, his saliva production is reduced, which leads to a dry mouth and bad breath.

9. Tooth grinding

Some kids will grind their teeth when they sleep, which can cause bad breath in the morning due to the accumulation of bacteria that accumulates overnight during this time.

10. Mouthy toys

If your child chews on dolls, stuffed animals, or other toys, it’s possible that bacteria accumulate in these items and cause bad breath when your child plays with them.

Bad Breath Treatment for Kids

There are several things you can do to help prevent bad breath for your kids. The best way to get rid of the problem is by maintaining good oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that parents teach their children proper brushing and flossing techniques when they reach the age of two, but there’s no harm in starting early. You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, and floss once a day to prevent plaque from building up on gums. In addition, you should limit how often your child consumes sugary snacks and sodas. This means cutting back on candies, fruit drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, ice cream, or other desserts that are high in sugar content. Bad breath caused by chronic dry mouth can be treated with artificial saliva. You can buy an ointment or spray that coats the mouth to prevent dryness or visit your dentist for a stronger solution. If the problem is caused by bacteria, you can use special toothpaste and rinse twice per day to fight persistent bad breath. You should also schedule regular dental checkups so that your child’s teeth are carefully inspected for issues that might lead to bad breath. If your child grinds his teeth at night, he may need to wear a mouthguard while sleeping to prevent further damage and future dental issues.


Bad breath is a bad problem for kids, but it’s easy to stop if you start brushing and flossing twice per day. Seek treatment from your dentist for bad breath caused by bad teeth or chronic dry mouth. If the bad breath comes from food consumption, try limiting how much garlic, onion, meat, and sugar your family eats so that your children don’t develop bad breath. You can also help your child by using artificial saliva to prevent bad breath from chronic dry mouth. Follow these simple bad breath treatment tips for kids, and bad breath should become a problem of the past sooner rather than later!


DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice provided is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.

Read our previous article here: https://chengdds.com/what-are-full-mouth-dental-implants-and-what-do-they-cost


Contact Information:

Yi-Tsu Cheng, D.D.S. & Associates

5008 Buford Hwy NE ste b, Chamblee, GA 30341


Long: 33.888563, Lat: -84.2892626

(770) 457-3671



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