girl holding her hand up trying to smell her breath

Help! My Child Has Bad Breath.

It can be very difficult to talk to your child about bad breath because you certainly don’t want to embarrass them, but there may be some easy solutions to make it go away.

Bad breath is usually caused by bad oral hygiene or decay.

If your child consistently has bad breath, don’t try mouthwash or a piece of gum. This will only cover the problem for a short time and something more sinister may be hiding behind the scenes. While it will depend on the underlying cause of your child’s halitosis – the main symptom of which is bad-smelling breath, finding the cause can make it preventable. The following bad breath remedies and tips will be successful in most cases:

Be an example of good dental hygiene for your children.

You can be your child’s role model by setting a good example. Brush and floss alongside your child, so they can learn to copy your good habits. You may think your child can brush and floss alone, but it’s best to wait until around age eight. And, don’t forget to show your child how to brush their tongue!

Be healthy.

Sweets and starchy foods are okay in moderation and will require a little extra attention as far as your child’s teeth. If they linger too long, they can lead to bad breath and decay. Drink plenty of water alongside starchy and sugary foods to help saliva wash away bacteria they may generate.

Focus on hydration.

Water helps flush plaque, bacteria, and food particles off the teeth. Avoid sugary drinks because they can still do the same damage as sugary foods. Aim for eight glasses of water per day to get proper hydration.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Eating and drinking first thing in the morning stimulates saliva production and reduces “morning breath”, which can stay with your child throughout the day.

Sugarless gum that contains xylitol can help with dryness.

This is a tip for older children. While we don’t advocate using gum to solve bad breath issues, it can help in a pinch. Xylitol is thought to decrease the amount of plaque and bacteria and lower the risk of cavities.

Listen to how your child is breathing while they sleep.

If your child sleeps with their mouth open and you notice they are breathing through their mouth and not their nose, other conditions may be to blame, like seasonal allergies. Talk to your pediatric dentist about what may be causing mouth breathing and whether you should speak about this issue with your pediatrician.

Visit the dentist twice per year.

Going to the dentist every six months provides a time to check in about any problems you may be encountering and for us to do X-rays to see if anything may be going on that’s not visible to the naked eye in your child’s mouth.

Talk to your pediatrician.

Sometimes there are underlying conditions that cause halitosis. Some medications can also cause bad breath and dry mouth. Your pediatrician may be able to find additional medications to replace the ones causing issues. Also, if your child is having allergies, your pediatrician may help you find the best treatment for your child.


Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Hoover, Medplex, Oxford and Pell City. When looking for your child’s dentist, know that we aspire to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. We also provide orthodontics in our Hoover, Medplex and Cullman locations. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!


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