What Does The Smell of Your Child’s Breath Say About Their Health?

What Does The Smell of Your Child’s Breath Say About Their Health?

National Fresh Breath Day is Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Halitosis or bad breath can be a major problem for many children.  There are multiple causes of bad breath ranging from not brushing your teeth to serious medical conditions.  The smell of your child’s breath can reveal a lot about their health.

Causes of Bad Breath:

Poor oral hygiene

Food particles left in your child’s mouth will attract bacteria.  Sulfur is released by the bacteria as it accumulates on the bits of food left in between the teeth and mouth.  This causes the foul odor on your child’s breath.  Gum or periodontal disease can also manifest as bad breath and cause damage to your teeth. 


When children are dehydrated, they do not produce much saliva.  Saliva has a natural cleaning action that prevents bacteria from growing in the mouth.

Certain Foods

Foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots release a strong oil that is carried to the lungs and out through the mouth

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Bad breath can be a sign of a bad gut.  When undigested food and acid from the stomach regurgitates into the mouth, it can lead to tooth decay and a foul breath.  


Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels in a child can cause the breath to smell like acetone, the ingredient in nail polish remover.  Sometimes the breath may even smell fruity.

Kidney Issue

Breath that smells fishy or similar to urine can indicate a complication with your child’s kidneys since the kidneys are responsible for filtering toxic chemicals from the blood into the urine.


Allergies can cause your child to have postnasal drip and nasal congestion.  This forces your child to breathe through their mouth which leads to oral dryness and promotes bacterial growth and bad breath. 

What Should Your Child Do?

Brush and Floss

Teeth need to be brushed for a full 2 minutes at least twice a day to clean the surface completely and prevent bacteria build-up.  A 30 second brush will not suffice.  Brush your tongue, too.  Bacteria love to live on the surface of the tongue.  Daily flossing gets rid of the particles stuck between the teeth but children forget how important a daily floss can be to prevent bad breath.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water promotes saliva production.  Saliva is a natural defense against bacterial growth in the mouth.

Freshen Up

Parsley, cinnamon, and celery have antibacterial and antifungal properties that help keep the mouth clean.  Sugar-free gum and chewing on fennel seeds can also help increase salivation and promote fresh breath.

If your child suffers from bad breath, then try these simple tips.  Everyone suffers from bad breath from time to time but if you feel your child’s breath is not improving, then speak to your child’s doctor about further testing.

If you would like more information about gastrointestinal (GI) digestive disorders and nutrition in children, please contact Dr. Mona Dave’s Frisco Office or Request Appointment Here.