Bad breath is common in children and even adults, soon after they wake up, mostly because of the bacterial activity in the mouth. Such a bad breath is not something to be concerned about, as it goes away as soon as your child brushes the teeth and rinses the mouth. But, If your child has repeated episodes of bad breath, then you may have to look at what is causing it.

We at Education Finders have looked top seven reasons for bad breath in children.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral and dental hygiene is among the most common cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis in children. Irregular or incomplete brushing may fail to remove the dental plaque residue in your child’s mouth. Plaque accumulation in the mouth causes not only bad breath but also other oral problems like gum diseases and tooth decay.

Dry mouth

Finger sucking or pacifier use can cause dry mouth in children. This increases the growth of bacteria in the mouth and leads to bad breath. If enough saliva is not produced in the mouth, it results in a condition called xerostomia, which causes excessive dryness of the mouth and eventually leads to smelly breath.

Bacteria on the tongue

The tongue is where the bacteria settle in the mouth. Also, evidence suggests that wearing dentures may sometimes cause bad breath due to increased plaque deposits on the tongue.

Breathing with mouth

Children often breathe through their mouths when they sleep or when they have a blocked nose. Saliva is not produced when the mouth is open. The dryness leads to xerostomia. Mouth breathing also increases the risk of tooth decay.

Oral infections / gum diseases

Your child may develop oral infections or  gum diseases due to a lack of proper care. The infections could be a result of high sugar content in their diet or due to poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis or gum disease is also an inflammatory condition that causes bad breath in children.

Tooth abscesses or decay

A tooth abscess is an infection that results in pus formation in the teeth, while decay is permanent damage to teeth with small holes in them. Both the conditions can result in highly distinct, foul odors of the mouth. Tooth abscesses are common in children and can be caused due to injury or cavities, while tooth decay can be caused due to poor diet and oral hygiene.


The food we eat is a major factor that affects our breath. Foods like garlic, onion or cheese can cause bad breath in children. The diet combined with poor oral hygiene, may eventually lead to halitosis. A high-protein or low-carb diet can also result in halitosis. Fewer carbohydrates in the body result in the production of ketones. Unused ketones in the body are released through the air you exhale, giving it an acetone-like smell.

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