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Causes of Bad Breath In Toddlers and Its Solutions

Bad breath in toddlers is possible. There are various reasons why this happens. Below are some of the most common causes of bad breath in children coupled with tips on how to effectively resolve them.

Cause # 1: Poor Oral Hygiene

This is the leading cause of bad breath in toddlers especially since toddlers can be very obstinate when it comes to dental hygiene. Inappropriate oral care can leave behind bad odors which can lead to even more serious health issues such as tartar build-up, dental abscess or gingivitis.


Like adults, toddlers need a dental care routine. As soon as his first tooth appears, clean it twice a day to prevent bacteria from growing and thriving. Over time, assist and teach your toddler the right way of brushing teeth. He should brush his teeth and tongue for three minutes, twice a day, using a pea-sized amount of an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. Flossing once a day and rinsing with a child-friendly mouthwash after every meal are also a must. Take your toddler to the dentist for regular dental check-ups.

Change his diet. Avoid giving him cheese, garlic, onions, soda and artificial juices since they trigger odor-causing germs. Give your toddler a mint candy he can chew to freshen his breath after eating flavorful foods.

Cause # 2: Thumb Sucking

Sucking is common in toddlers. Your little one may suck his thumb or a pacifier for comfort. This favorite activity can essentially lead to the development of bad breath since the thumb and the pacifier can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not correctly cleaned.


Distract your little one. Give him a toy, play a game, read a book, color or do things that will keep his hands busy. Keeping him preoccupied can help break the bad habit. Cover his thumbs with bandages in bright colors or those that feature his favorite cartoon character. Chances are, once he tries to put his thumb in his mouth, he will not like the feel of the bandages in his mouth which will make him think twice and decide against it. At night, try putting some Thum Thumb Sucking Nail Biting Treatment (a drugstore product designed for nail biters) on both his thumbnails. This product taste really bad allowing your toddler to break the habit at once.

For severe thumb sucking, using a thumb guard (a metal piece that prevents the thumb from going into the mouth) is one effective way to stop the habit.

Cause # 3: Mouth Breathing

Breathing through the mouth is common in toddlers. This can lead to a dry mouth which results to bad breath. A dry mouth leaves the tissues of the oral cavity dry which increases the chances of germs to grow more rapidly along the throat producing a bad mouth odor. Mouth breathing is often done due to allergies, a congested or stuffy nose, dehydration and overheating.


Quickly treat cold and allergy symptoms. Suction your toddler’s nose with saline and a nasal aspirator especially before bedtime. Doing this will help reduce the post-nasal drip and prevent mouth breathing. See to it your toddler gets plenty of fluids and snacks throughout the day. This allows the odor-causing bacteria to be moved around the mouth and get washed out. It also produces more saliva avoiding a dry mouth. Make sure your toddler’s room temperature is stable especially at night. Turn on the air conditioner or open windows to prevent overheating.

Cause # 4: An Illness or Condition

Sometimes, bad breath is a sign your toddler may be sick or is suffering a chronic condition. Cavities, gum diseases, respiratory infection, sinusitis, diabetes, tonsillitis or acid reflux can cause bad breath which should be addressed as soon as possible.


Check his nasal passages to ensure no foreign objects are stuck in the nose. Contact a health care practitioner so your toddler can be properly examined. Seeing a dentist also helps in detecting and treating mouth related problems.

Never make a toddler feel self-conscious of his bad breath. Bad breath in toddlers is easy to cure. Once the root of the problem is determined, proper action can be taken.

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