How to avoid bad breath in children

By: Richard Kabanda

Bad breath, medically known as halitosis is a condition that even healthy children can experience. However, most of the time, the condition is associated with poor oral hygiene. Teaching your child good dental care habits at an early age can be vital in terms of their oral health as adults.

If your child does not brush their teeth frequently, it can result in bad breath. Cleaning teeth should include removing plague that may irritate gums.

The tongue

It can also harbour bacteria that produce foul odour and bad breath. So ensure that as your child brushes their teeth, they also clean the tongue thoroughly. For this to be effective, parents should closely monitor the hygiene of their children.

Dry mouth

Saliva helps to cleanse the mouth. When your child’s mouth is producing less saliva than normal, a condition known as xerostomia may occur, and this will eventually contribute to bad breath.


When a child breathes through the mouth (due to a stuffy nose or as a sleep habit), it prevents saliva from washing away bacteria, thereby leading to bad breath.


Bad breath can also come about as a result of cavities, plaque build-up and mouth sores.


If your child consumes foods that have strong odour such as garlic, onions or specific spices, it can impact the freshness of their breath. Besides food, some medications may also cause bad breath.

What you can do

Healthy teeth are integral to your child’s overall health and well-being. You can help your child avoid bad breath by developing an oral care routine.

•Ensure your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride

•Always supervise young children so that they do not swallow the toothpaste.

•As they brush their teeth, ensure that your child cleans the tongue as well, since bacteria can collect and grow there.

•Once in a while, floss your child’s teeth as this will help to remove odour-causing food particles.

•Remember to change your child’s tooth brush every three months because dull bristles cannot effectively remove plaque and debris from the teeth.

•Make regular visit to the dentist for professional check-up and cleaning.

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