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How to Help Your Child Combat Bad Breath

Don’t you wish there was one all-knowing manual to parenting? Something that told you more than just what the best diaper brand is, or what color to paint your nursery?

If that manual did exist, it would likely let you in on the secret that teaching your child about hygiene is a bigger feat than you might think.

As adults, we go through our morning hygiene routine without much thought. But did you ever have an awkward moment when you were younger, when an adult in your life had to urge you to shower, put on some deodorant, or go brush your teeth?

Learning hygiene skills takes practice. This is also the case when it comes to your child’s oral health and battling bad breath.

Bad breath can be the result of bacteria buildup in your child’s mouth, smelly foods, and more. We don’t have the all-knowing parent manual, but we can help you figure out bad breath causes, bad breath remedies, and whether it’s time to see a kids dentist.

The Culprit: Bacteria

Bacteria loves living in your mouth. Without regular brushing, flossing, and mouth wash, bacteria can build up in every crevice of your teeth. Some of those bacteria can release foul odors, which can cause bad breath.

The Solution: Check in on Your Child’s Oral Hygiene Routine

If your child seems to have bad breath symptoms often, this is a great opportunity to check in on their oral hygiene routine and make sure they aren’t missing any important steps.

Next time you send them to brush their teeth, make sure you’ve checked off each of these steps:

  1. If your child is over 3 years old, make sure they’re using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush. Young toddlers should use a bit of toothpaste that’s no bigger than the size of a grain of rice.
  1. Help them brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. Make sure they brush the front and back of every tooth as well as their tongue.
  1. Help your child floss every night if they’re old enough to have 2 or more teeth that touch.
  1. Ensure you have a reliable source for kids dental care to contact when you need some guidance or to make an appointment.

If your child is old enough to know how to brush their teeth but is being lazy about it, it may be time to spice it up by making it something they look forward to.

Try out some fun brushing games, like taking turns humming a song while you brush your teeth and having the other person guess which song it is.

The Culprit: Smelly Food

Every time you eat, some food particles get left behind in your mouth and continue to give off the scent of what you ate. And really potent foods — like garlic or onions — have oils that can travel to your lungs, making the smell linger even when you brush!

The Solution: All Natural Scent Defense

Many potent food scents can be booted as easily as they arrived, oftentimes with all natural breath freshening solutions:


It turns out an apple a day keeps the doctor AND bad breath away! Apples help dampen the oils from the smellier foods. You can also drink 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water for a more long-lasting, breath-freshening effect.

Essential oils

Carry around some ingestion-safe essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary so you and your kiddo have effective breath fresheners on the go.

Whenever your child’s breath needs a refresh, put a drop of the oil on their tongue or water, or put 5 drops in a 16ml spray bottle for a breath spray.

The Culprit: Illness

Sometimes, bad breath happens when your child is sick. Some illnesses like tonsillitis or certain allergies can cause a buildup of odor-producing bacteria on your child’s tonsils, which can be especially noticeable when they exhale.

The Solution: See the Doctor

Ask your child about other symptoms like a sore throat, and check for a fever. If they have either, chances are their bad breath is caused by a sickness. It might be time to call your doctor for a checkup.

If your child has allergies, be sure to tell their doctor about the bad breath during their next routine checkup. Your child’s doctor may recommend making changes to your child’s regimen, like adding in a new allergy med, or changing the one they have.

The Culprit: Infection or Tooth Decay

Sometimes, lingering bad breath can be a sign of an infection in your child’s mouth.

If your child recently had a tooth removed, be sure to follow up with your dentist or oral surgeon about your concerns. The same goes for if they’ve suffered any cuts, painful canker sores, or any other injuries in their mouth.

Routine bad breath can also be an indicator of bacteria buildup that has led to tooth decay or gum disease.

The Solution: A Visit to a Kids Dentist

Whether your child’s bad breath is from tooth decay or an infection, it’s time to call in the professionals! If you aren’t already taking your child to the kids dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning and checkup, now’s the time to schedule a checkup >

Taking your child to the dentist at least once a year can save you a lot of money on future procedures. After all, a filling is much cheaper than a root canal!

It can also save our child from pain associated with dental issues, as well as lower their risk of diseases tied to untreated dental issues like diabetes or heart disease. Inhaled bacteria from tooth decay can even cause pneumonia, the last thing you want your child to be vulnerable to during COVID19.

Prevention is Best

Determining the cause of your child’s bad breath and knowing how to combat it is certainly a handy skill to have. But sometimes, you just don’t have the answers.

That’s where we come in!

The easiest way to deal with routine bad breath is to stay on top of bacteria buildup. Help your child stay healthy and happy by taking them in for regular cleanings with California kids dental care.

Book your child’s teeth cleaning today >