5 Reasons For Bad Breath In Children Every Parent Should Know

Children can also have bad breath if they are suffering from illnesses such as sinusitis or tonsillitis, gingivitis, and tooth decay.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Nov 28, 2022 18:31 IST
5 Reasons For Bad Breath In Children Every Parent Should Know

When sticky food with a strong odour breaks down in the mouth, it tends to cause bad breath or halitosis in children. However, this is not the only reason for bad breath in children. Children can also have bad breath if they are suffering from illnesses such as sinusitis or tonsillitis. This article looks at five such common but less known reasons for bad breath in children.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When children don't clean and floss their teeth frequently and thoroughly enough, food particles and plaque collect in their mouth and foul bacteria create a bad odour. Even a dirty tongue can cause bad breath. This is because bad breath-causing bacteria attach to the skin cells on the back of your tongue.

A lack of proper oral hygiene also increases the risk of tooth cavities and gum disease (gingivitis). When a child suffers from tooth cavities, the smell that comes from the mouth is often foul. One of the reasons for this is that the food particles get trapped in the cavities exacerbating bad breath. Your child can also develop bad breath due to abscessed teeth.

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Dry Mouth

As the name suggests, in this condition, the mouth stays dry due to the low production of saliva. Since saliva plays an important role in the breakdown and washing away of food particles, its unavailability gives scope for bacteria to stay in the mouth for longer, giving rise to bad breath. A dry mouth can happen from dehydration and go away when your child drinks water. However, this condition can persist when the child is suffering from a health condition or is on some medication.

Mouth Breathing

According to research published on the National Library of Medicine portal, kids who breathe through their mouths often experience bad breath. This can be brought on by the mouth's saliva drying out. A dry mouth resulting from mouth breathing might also lead to foul mouth odour in children.

Foreign Object in Nose

Out of curiosity, sometimes children insert foreign objects in their nostrils, like beads or bits of food. This results in an infection in the nose and leads to bad breath in them. In this, condition one should not force to remove the foreign object from the mouth, but instead, immediately seek the doctor's attention.

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Other Health Conditions

Some conditions like sinusitis and tonsillitis can also lead to bad breath in children.

Sinusitis occurs due to inflammation in the nasal passages due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, or allergies. In this condition, fluid gets collected in the nasal passages and throat, which makes it ideal for the bacteria to survive, causing bad breath.

In tonsillitis, which usually happens to children above two years of age, tonsils become red and swollen. Like sinusitis, tonsillitis causes bad breath in children when the tonsils trap nasal fluids, food particles, and bacteria.



It is important to consider visiting a doctor in case your child has persistent bad mouth odour. As mentioned above, this may be due to poor oral health or problems like sinusitis and tonsillitis. In any case, the underlying cause behind bad breath should be treated to avoid future problems. A pediatric dentist may resolve the problems of your child's oral health and would suggest further treatment to maintain better oral care.

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