Schedule Now >

What Causes Bad Breath in Kids? 

What Causes Bad Breath in Kids? 

added on: September 20, 2021

Bad breath can be embarrassing, especially for kids. In some cases, a kid’s bad breath may be caused by an underlying medical condition. But in most cases, bad breath in kids is caused by everyday habits and behaviors that aren’t necessarily harmful to health but can make oral hygiene challenging at times. Check out what your pediatric dentist in Kansas City has to say about what causes bad breath in kids and learn how to keep their mouths fresh and healthy!

Not Brushing Well 

Even though we encourage our kiddos to brush their teeth for a full two minutes twice a day, the truth is, kids may not be the best at brushing each and every area of the mouth. The result? Bad breath. In fact, according to the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, about 10% of children between ages 8 and 12 suffer from bad breath, which they attribute to oral bacteria. The research also found that kids who brush their teeth at least twice daily are less likely to have bad breath than those who only brush once daily or who don’t brush at all. Ask your pediatric dentist in Kansas City about brushing tips to make sure your child is cleaning their teeth thoroughly. 


We all know that we should drink a lot of water throughout the day. The same goes for kids, especially really active kids. Water is so important to help replenish bodies with hydration, but water is also key for a healthy smile. You see, when we don’t drink enough water, we can’t produce enough saliva to keep our mouths clean and free of bacteria and acids. When we’re dehydrated and saliva production is slow, bacteria can linger around in the mouth, and they stink! Thankfully, bad breath caused by dehydration is easily treatable by making sure your little one drinks plenty of water every day. 


We’ve all experienced that bad breath feeling after eating a garlicky dinner. This can happen to kids, too! In fact, there are many foods that can cause short-term bad breath in anyone who eats them. One of the best ways to avoid post-dinner bad breath is to rinse the mouth out with water. If that’s not possible, and your kids are allowed, have them chew a piece of sugarless gum. This can help remove some leftover food particles and also mask the stench of stinky food. Also, chewing gum helps the mouth produce more saliva, and as we’ve learned, spit is good — for fighting bad breath at least!   


Certain medications can make the mouth feel drier than it normally does. If your child’s bad breath seems to come and go, he may be taking medications like antihistamines, decongestants, or antidepressants that cause dry mouth. Antihistamines and decongestants can leave your child with sour-smelling breath while some antidepressants may taste sweet — and both effects can linger on a breath. Never stop taking any medications without first talking to your doctor about alternative treatments.

If you’re concerned about your child’s bad breath, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Kansas City. Your dental team will evaluate your kiddo for any signs of an oral health problem and talk with you about ways to alleviate bad breath. 

In fact, we’re always welcoming new patients from Johnson County and the Kansas City area at all of our pediatric dental offices in Overland Park, Prairie Village, Olathe, Kansas City!