Know that feeling when your child rushes to give you a kiss and their breath nearly blows you away? Bad breath or halitosis is fairly common in children, leaving many parents baffled as what to do about it.
Causes of bad breath:
- Bacteria in the mouth. These feed and thrive on food particles left on the tongue, between the teeth and in the crevices of the tonsils and adenoids.
- Mouth-breathing dries out the mouth and allows bacteria to grow and multiply.
- Respiratory tract infections – colds, sinusitis.
- Eating foods rich with garlic or onions.
Many parents have tried different mouthwashes and breath mints to get rid of the bad breath but these only mask the smell temporarily and have no lasting effects.
Preventing bad breath:
- Brush teeth two times daily
- Floss daily
- Clean tongue (use toothbrush or tongue scraper)
- Snack on crunchy fruits and vegetables such as celery, apples and carrots that help remove food particles from the mouth
- Avoid foods with strong garlic or onion content
- Have regular dental check up and cleaning
In addition to these preventive actions and depending on a child’s age, chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva which helps clear the mouth of food particles and bacteria.
Bad breath that persists and does not respond to the above measures should be investigated.
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