- Mouth breathing (often due to a cold or allergies)
- Improper brushing
- Infrequent snacking and drinking throughout the day
- Increased bacterial activity in the mouth at night
To help alleviate the problem, give these solutions a try:
- Ensure that your child gets plenty of fluids throughout the day. Less fluids mean less saliva, and less saliva means a dryer mouth, which is a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes bad breath. In addition, offering frequent drinks and snacks throughout the day provide opportunities for the odor-causing bacteria to be moved around the mouth and flushed away.
- Promptly treat cold and allergy symptoms and suction your child's nose with saline and a nasal aspirator, especially at night. This will help reduce the post-nasal drip and prevent mouth breathing, both of which can cause bad breath.
- Teach your child to brush properly and assist him with brushing frequently. Young children need your help with this until they are around seven years old, but while you're helping, make sure they are learning the importance of brushing the tongue and sides of the mouth as well as flossing. New flossers with handles are making this task even easier for young children and parents.
If your child's breath is still foul after four to five days, you should contact your health care provider. You should also put a call in to your practitioner if you notice heavy, green nasal discharge from one nostril. This discharge could signal an infection from a foreign object lodged in the nose. Call your dentist if you notice bleeding around the gums, visible tooth decay or a discolored tooth.