Bad breath, or halitosis, can affect people of all ages. In fact, fresh breath is just as important for kids as it is adults, especially when it is time to go back to school. If you have a child with chronic foul breath, it can not only lead to teasing from peers, but it can also mean that there is an oral health problem that needs attention.
Bad breath is best treated by first identifying the underlying cause, which can range from post nasal drip and certain medications to gum disease, decay and poor oral hygiene. Instead of handing your child a stick of gum or mint as they get on the bus (as this will only mask bad breath), consider the following tips for fresh “back-to-school” breath:
#1 Brush Better
The majority of halitosis cases in children can be traced back to poor brushing habits. If your child is not adequately removing food debris and plaque from their teeth and gums, the buildup can be quite stinky. In fact, when bacteria feeds on the sugars in your mouth, it produces a foul-smelling sulfur compound. Remind your child to brush for two minutes, twice a day and not to neglect their tongue. Millions of bacteria live on our tongues, it is important to brush all sides of your tongue. Treating bad breath in your child may be as simple as better dental hygiene habits.
#2 Drink More Water
One of the culprits to bad breath is a dry mouth. While dry mouth can be a result of certain allergy medications or medical conditions, it needs to be addressed for the sake of your breath and smile health. We need saliva to rinse away bacteria and food debris, as well as neutralize the acids in our mouths. When oral bacteria becomes excessive, halitosis can develop. Since most kids aren’t as conscious about drinking water, encourage your child to stay well-hydrated and sip water throughout the day. This can help combat dry mouth and bad breath. If dry mouth is a chronic problem despite more water intake, ask your dentist about ways to increase saliva production.
#3 See Your Dentist
While the occasional “morning breath” is very common and not cause for alarm, if your child is routinely emitting foul breath, it may be time to see your dentist. Untreated decay, gum disease or infection can all produce symptoms of halitosis. In such cases, the bad breath will not resolve until the dental problem is properly treated.
Has it been six months since your child has seen a dentist? Now is the perfect time to schedule a routine dental cleaning and exam at Smile Design Studios. We can ensure your child’s oral health is in top condition to begin the school year, which includes clean teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath. Don’t let dental problems be a reason your child struggles socially or academically at school this year. Call our office today!