Children And Their (Sometimes) Smelly Breath

Children And Their (Sometimes) Smelly Breath

It isn’t just grown ups who can have bad breath advises Streatham dentist, Dr Manisha Patel.

As we have mentioned in a number of previous blogs including this one, bad breath is often linked to a number of different factors.

One of the most significant of these is when the gums become infected due to periodontitis, or even the earlier stage of gum disease known as gingivitis.

Some lifestyle choices can also lead to this antisocial problem, including the regular drinking of  alcohol and also smoking. It isn’t just our adult Confidental Clinic patients that can suffer from halitosis though, it can also occur in children. As we can (hopefully anyway) rule out alcohol and cigarettes as being the cause of this, what is it that is going on in the child’s mouth that is causing this problem?

Morning breath

Although it might surprise some people who don’t have kids, most parents will be only too aware of the fact that their kids breath can sometimes be really stinky, even after they have brushed their teeth. Whilst this is relatively common, there are certain things that can, perhaps, be done to eliminate, or at least reduce their smelly breath.

Lodged objects

To start off with, one that you may perhaps not even consider, but especially if your child is very small, they may have been curious what would happen if they pushed a pea, jelly bean or even a small toy up their nose. If this happens, bacteria can form around it and cause their breath to smell. It is best to keep calm if you do discover this and call your doctor for further advice rather than panic the child, possibly causing them to sniff it further up their nose.

Dehydration and a dry mouth

We have mentioned before that having a dry mouth can increase the number of bacteria in the oral cavity. This can lead to our breath becoming more smelly. Some kids are prone to rushing about and playing, without taking sufficient water on board; so it pays to keep an eye on your kids whilst they are playing and make sure that there is a plentiful supply of water that they can access. You may need to remind them of this or they may become so involved in what they are doing that they forget.

Sinus infections

Kids are prone to illnesses whilst they build up their immune system and sinus infections are relatively common in young children. This causes fluids to build up in the throat and nasal passages which leads to an increase in the number of bacteria present.

If you suspect your child may have a sinus infection, please see your doctor for a diagnosis. Antibiotics are a common treatment to resolve this health issue, depending on how serious the condition has become.


Another illness that is common in children is tonsillitis. If their tonsils are swollen, inflamed and have white spots on them, the chances are that they have tonsillitis. You may need a flashlight to see this. Tonsillitis should be treated as soon as possible and you need to see your doctor in order for the child to be examined.

Tooth decay and gum disease

It might surprise some of you to know that, although more widely associated with adults, children can also get gum disease. As parents, you should make sure to supervise them when they clean their teeth and make sure that they don’t eat or drink anything at night after doing so. If you can, try to floss between their teeth for them too until they are old enough to do so themselves.

Tooth decay is more of a common problem in this age group than gum disease. This is largely due to youngsters seemingly almost relentless cravings for sugary foods. Although it may be next to impossible to ban these altogether; with a bit of care (and perhaps a few small bribes), you should be able to cut down their consumption. If you don’t, there is every likelihood that they will suffer from tooth decay which too can cause the child to have really bad breath.

As parents, we do our best to make sure that our kids stay fit and healthy, and this hopefully applies to their dental care too. It is an almost impossible task on your own though, and you should take advantage of the children’s dental services that we offer at the Confidental Clinic in Streatham.

Regular check up appointments, and, where necessary, treatments to restore decayed or damaged teeth will help your child to have strong healthy teeth into their future. This will hopefully help you to avoid suffering from their smelly breath when they greet you in the morning!

To make an appointment at the Confidental Clinic, please call us on 020 8674 2052.

Dr Manisha Patel – GDC 228921