Bad breath, or halitosis is relatively common in adults. However, as a parent of a toddler, it can be concerning to notice bad breath alone. Additionally, it can be alarming to notice diarrhea in combination with bad breath. Generally, unusual bad breath is a signal of a more serious medical problem. It would be in your best interest to call your child’s dentist or pediatrician immediately to determine what may be causing your toddler’s bad breath and diarrhea.

Possible Causes:

Bad breath can arise from diseases in children. Children with diabetes, or ketoacidosis may have a sweet smelling bad breath in addition to dehydration. Another common result of bad breath in toddlers may be an oral infection. Since bacteria and viruses are likely to cause pharyngitis or tonsillitis, these can be the reason you may smell a foul odor.

If bad breath occurs in a toddler, but is not the result of a preexisting condition or infection, a common cause is dehydration. Dehydration can occur in children easier than one may realize and many factors can contribute to dehydration. In fact, low fluid intake, strenuous exercise, diarrhea, vomiting or drinks with caffeine may indicate dehydration.

As a result of the dehydration, the mouth ends up drying out meaning that saliva production has significantly decreased. When saliva production is insufficient, the bacteria that live in the mouth are able to increase and produce the bad breath that you may smell. This is why it is so important to keep our young ones hydrated, especially if they are active! Keeping up with regular fluids and water intake can help to prevent any dehydration or other symptoms associated with dehydration.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Breath

Can a pediatric dentist cure bad breath?
The answer to this question all depends on the cause of your child’s bad breath. A pediatric dentist can professionally clean your child’s mouth and remove any buildup of plaque, tartar, and food particles that they may have a difficult time reaching.

They can also help your child identify places they may be missing while brushing and flossing that may be causing the bad breath. If your child’s bad breath is the result of tooth decay, dry mouth, or gum disease, a dentist should be able to help as well.

How can my child prevent bad breath?
The best way for your child to prevent bad breath is to adhere to a comprehensive dental hygiene routine. This mean, brushing and flossing daily and using an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of any lingering bacteria in their mouth. If they have dry mouth, chewing a sugar-free gum with xylitol can help increase their saliva production and prevent tooth decay.

Does mouthwash cure bad breath?
Although mouthwash can help your child’s bad breath, it’s not a cure for it and certainly not a substitute for daily brushing and flossing. Consult a pediatric dentist to determine the ideal mouthwash fo your child.

How does a lack of saliva cause bad breath?
Many people are surprised to learn that a lack of saliva or dry mouth causes bad breath in children. This happens because without saliva, your child’s mouth is unable to effectively wash away odor-causing bacteria that leads to bad breath.

Does drinking water help with bad breath?
Absolutely! Sipping water throughout the day can help your child avoid bad breath. It also discourages them from drinking sugary filled drinks that can lead to cavities and other oral health issues.

Contact Us

If your toddler seems to have bad breath in association with diarrhea, we recommend that you call our Ashburn, VA office, Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry immediately for further information from our very knowledgeable pediatric dentist, Dr. Konz.

In the meantime, if you think your toddler may be dehydrated, try to get your child to drink fluids and rest. We know that bad breath can be a sign of many possible causes, but it would be best to receive an evaluation to further assess the situation at hand.