27 answers

Childs Bad Breath

Hi everyone! I was wondering if anyone else has this problem and what they have tried. My almost 5 year old has terriable breath. I help him brush his teeth now and also rinse with mouth wash everyday. It's still not helping! We thought maybe he wasnt' brushing well but now I am! We don't know what to do! Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you in advance!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well I've got alot of feed back! We have taken him to the dentist oh it's been a few months ago, I forgot to ask him! He does have regualar bowel movements because we watch that since he did have troubles a couple years ago. I appriciate all the inputs! Never realized so much could affect breath! All he drinks is milk and water so that will be my last resort to cut out milk, but I will look and see if we can get that special milk one of you talked about. I will start trying some of everyones ideas! One at time of course since you want to know what actually helped!I will keep everyone updated as we go! Thanks again everyone!

PS I do brush his teeth and tounge. Then he rinses with a childs mouthwash. We do not floss because he has gaps in his teeth and where told he does not need to floss yet because of this. We know its not the brushing.

We are currently treating him for allergies again. He had allergies when he was smaller but stopped showing the signs so we thought he had grown out of them. This is my first attempt! We'll treat him for the allergies again for a couple weeks and see if that helps. I have tried to look in his throat and don't see anything. As well and nose and ears. Nothing. So thank you for all your advice!

Hi all! Just another update. We treated for allergies and have been bushing and using mouthwash. I changed his mouthwash which in its self has seemed to help. We are going to stop treating the allergies and see how it goes. Thank you all for your advice!! We are just going to keep watching it!

Featured Answers

My son had really bad breath when he first come to live with us as a foster child. Right away I started brushing his tongue because it was covered in white. It took a while and it went away. I think some of it might have been from lots of sugar and candy. We don't eat a lot of that and it hasn't come back.
Also watch every day and see if it's worse on certain days. It may be a food issue allergy to something like milk. Could also be reflux.
My Father in Law used to have terrible breath too and once they realized he had diabetes and got it under control it went away.
Good luck,
J.
Mom to 4, soon 5 through another adoption and hopefully more :o)

You write, "I help him brush his teeth now and also rinse with mouth wash everyday."--I am wondering if you floss before brushing and rinsing? Flossing is key, and is best if done prior to brushing. He may have food such as meat stuck and rotting between molars, and this may be causing the odor.

Does he have any nasal congestion or ever complain about a headache? Bad breath can be a sign of a sinus infection or infected adenoids. You may want to just do a search of 'bad breath' on one of the medical websites.

More Answers

I didn't read all the responses that you recieved but I know that sometimes if a child have something stuck under his tonsils or even stuck something in his nose or ears, he can get bad breath and have body odor. One little boy at day care stuck a little bead up his nose and they found it when he started smelling bad and they couldn't figure out why so they took him to the doctor.

Good luck.

How much plain water does he drink? I would cut out all sugary drinks and offer only water during the day and milk with meals.

Has he been to a dentist in the past 6 months? If not, take him and talk to the dentist about it.

What about post nasal drip? Does he has allergies, sinus issues or a cold? That post nasal drip, although necessary, can cause breath that smells like an army marched through his mouth and left their boots....

Hi A., I am a pediatric dental hygienist and a mother of three.
Does your child sleep with his mouth open? Or suck his thumb? Or breath a lot through his mouth in general? If he does, that could be the cause. When your mouth is dry your breath becomes unpleasant...:) It may become worse if he has a stuffy nose and has to breath through his mouth more. Other than any appropriate cold/allergy meds there is not too much you can do about any of those causes. Brushing for him before bedtime is good! However, if you can floss for him that is the best thing to do. (Let me know if you need any tips on how do easily do that on a 4 year old!) Food/plaque left between your teeth starts to rot and smell....yuk!

If he hasn't been to a dentist yet, it would be a good idea. If the child has any decay that could also be a cause. I hope this helps! Good luck!

C.

My sister had this problem with her 3 year old. She took him in and he had stool backed up so far it was causing his bad breath. His breath did smell like poop, however. NOt sure if that is the problem, but it may be something you may want to rule out. I have also heard from many Doctors/Dentist that bad breath comes from your tongue. Brush that as well.

i have notice that if my 6 year eats certain foods his breath is unbearable...i also have noticed too that when he goes to brush his teeth that the flavored toothpaste for kids jsut adds to the smell. so i add a little of my toothpaste to his and that helps but it may take several brushing to get rid of the odor!!!

I have a child who would get very bad breath when she didn't have a regular bowel movement and was slightly constipated. I limited her milk intake to one glass a day and some on her cereal, gave her more water to drink and switched her to this milk: nu a/B Acidophilus Bifidobacterium milk. I live in a smaller community and I can easily find it at the grocery stores in town. It helped a lot. She became regular and didn't have bad breath anymore. It took a week or two to see good results. She still is limited in her milk intake, but I supplement with other dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and a daily vitamin (she only gets ice cream once every couple weeks as well -- it's a special treat). Hope this helps!

A child's acidophilus supplement would help immensely. Make sure that whatever kind you purchase is refrigerated. You can buy good acidophilus from any health food store.
He needs to get good bacteria into his gut(for lack of a better word) and his breath will be normal again. My son had the same problem.
Also, I have heard that tonsil stones cause terrible breath. Has he had a sore throat lately? Been on antibiotic?
The response about milk allergy was good too. You can develop a sensitivity to dairy at any time.
I think you could brush until kingdom come but the problem is deeper than just the mouth. Acidophilus will treat the problem from within instead of just the symptom.
Good luck!

I don't have any advice, as i have the same problem with my 4 yr old. So, i'll be following this post. He doesn't have large tonsil and no problems with adenoids. He doesn't snore, so i'm not sure what's going on. I forgot to ask the last time he was at the dentist.

My son was two at the time and had bad breath, we were brushing his teeth and it still wasn't helping. He had a regular check up and the doctor decided to do a chest x-ray. Guess what they found a penny was stuck in his throat. I don't know how long it had been there, but that was the cause of his bad breath. Have your doctor take a look.

This is very likely a milk allergy. Take him off all dairy for two days and see if it improves. Technically, it is not an allergy but an inability to digest milk without the enzymes that should be in the milk. (The processor takes them out for some reason.) There are products for "Lactose intolerance," etc.

My child does not have this, but my neice had terrible bad breath and my SIL took her in and it turned out to be that she had acid reflux and it was affecting her breath. Not sure if that might be the case with your 5 year old, but it might be a place to start.

I hope that this helps!!

Typically, bad breath = sore throat in my household. Best of luck.

Bad breath is often gut problems which could be hereditary. Talk to a homeopath and find out what they recommend. We used Digestive Enyzymes for my husband and me and Probiotics for my kids.

Have you looked way in the back for "tonsil stones"? It's when food gets clumped up in the pits of the tonsils and rots there until it breaks loose - YUK!! My son has this problem. It looks like white spots or clumps in the tonsils. Check it out and ask a dentist or pediatrician for advice if he has this issue.

A.,

I don't want to put a scare into you. But son had terrible breath when he was younger and I never thought anything of it. Until in 5th grade it never got better and he got really thin and was thirsty alot. Well guess what he was diagnosed a a type 1 diabetic. You might just ask your doctor the next time your in or if you know of someone with a test meter have them test his number to see what it is at. Like I said this was my situation and I hope that it is just bad breath for you.. Good Luck!
TB

I don't know much about the bad breath thing. My 3-year-old has the same problem. I do have to tell you (since almost everybody is mentioning diabetes) that if you are worried about diabetes at all, symptoms of that is the breath usually smells kind of fruity, they urinate a lot, are very tired most of the time, are thirsty ALL of the time, and weight loss. I've been diabetic since I was 10, and those were my symptoms when we found out I have it . . . they still are my symptoms on the rare occasion my blood sugar gets high. I don't know if there are more symptoms, but that's what happens to me. Let me know what works for the bad breath! : ) I'm overly paranoid and have checked my son's blood sugar quite a few times, so I know that's not his issue.

My son had really bad breath when he first come to live with us as a foster child. Right away I started brushing his tongue because it was covered in white. It took a while and it went away. I think some of it might have been from lots of sugar and candy. We don't eat a lot of that and it hasn't come back.
Also watch every day and see if it's worse on certain days. It may be a food issue allergy to something like milk. Could also be reflux.
My Father in Law used to have terrible breath too and once they realized he had diabetes and got it under control it went away.
Good luck,
J.
Mom to 4, soon 5 through another adoption and hopefully more :o)

When I was young I had the same problem and also body odor my parents told me. They started buying milk from a farmer before it was pasturized, they claim that it helped. I notice I still have problems occassionally if I have milk just before I go to bed.

What does he eat? Sugar, dairy, meat, wheat with out balance of vegetables can effect our breath. Our pediatrician suggested we use acidopholus (we get a chewable one) to encourage good bacteria development in the digestive track. Vitamin C (in children's format) can be very cleansing. I think the breath and the urine can reflect the state of your system. Also, we use homeopathy, and our homeopath has given remedy that involves that. Sometimes I walk into my son's room after he's been sleeping and the whole room smells. Especially if he has a cold, or flu... at daycare they all trade everything.
good luck. In the end, bad breath isn't the end of the world...

Hi, A.. Is this a recent phenomenon? There are a number of things I can think of -- some easy, some not -- that could be causing this:

* Could something be stuck up his nose? I once heard of a little boy who suddenly had terrible breath. When it didn't clear up after a week or so, the parents took him to the doctor. When the doctor tried to examine his nasal passages, he found a cotton ball wedged up into the boy's sinus cavity!

* In a similar vein, sinus infections can cause bad breath.

* Most bad breath is caused by food stuck between the teeth, so be sure to floss as well as breath.

* Bad breath can also be an indication of diabetes. If it doesn't resolve itself, I would be sure to have him tested for that -- especially if there is anyone else in your family with Type 1 diabetes, because it runs in families.

Hope this helps! God bless!

N.

Have you taken him to a dentist? There might be a problem that a dentist could identify.

You write, "I help him brush his teeth now and also rinse with mouth wash everyday."--I am wondering if you floss before brushing and rinsing? Flossing is key, and is best if done prior to brushing. He may have food such as meat stuck and rotting between molars, and this may be causing the odor.

Does he have any nasal congestion or ever complain about a headache? Bad breath can be a sign of a sinus infection or infected adenoids. You may want to just do a search of 'bad breath' on one of the medical websites.

I would take your child to the doctor. My experience with bad breath in a child like you are describing is usually an indication that their sinuses are draining constantly. They may have more going on in their system than bad breath. It could be allergies or something else.

I am a full time working mother of 4.

Good Luck!

My (10 1/2 year old) son periodically had just AWFUL breath--it's usually followed by a sore throat and/or infection of some sort.

When my son's breath got super funky... it always followed an ear or sinus infection.

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