Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers? 15 Causes Of Bad Breath

Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers? While bad breath can be surprisingly common amongst teething toddlers, there is no evidence to suggest that the teething itself causes the bad breath in your child’s mouth – so let’s dig a little deeper and find out what the culprit could be for that foul odor!

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Common Causes Of Bad Breath In Toddlers

Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers

Poor Oral Hygeine

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of foul breath in children. Plaque (the sticky bacterial film that builds on the teeth) and food particles that aren’t removed from your child’s teeth with thorough brushing and flossing provide nourishment for the bacteria in the mouth. They emit odorous volatile sulphur compounds while they consume.

Mouth Breathing

In a study published in Clinics, researchers discovered a link between mouth breathing and smelly breath in children. The researchers theorised that because the mouth is open all night, and they’re not breathing through the nasal passages, it becomes dry, resulting in foul breath in the morning. Mouth breathing can be a brief occurrence caused by nasal congestion (a stuffy nose) in a youngster, or it can become a habit.


Bad breath can be caused by a variety of meals. Classic examples include onions and garlic. Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are also to fault. Because of their acidity (and the way this affects their stomach acids too), these foods harm teeth. When your toddler’s teeth begin to rot due to sugar and acidity, he or she may acquire bad breath. Make sure, as well as maintaining a healthy diet, they are drinking plenty of water.

Tongue Coating

Is your child’s tongue white and his breath bad? The formation of a tongue coating is another prevalent cause of bad breath in toddlers, children, and teenagers. Bacteria that cause odour, food, and disintegrating skin cells frequently cling to the back portion of the tongue. When you can expect, these objects don’t smell pleasant as they decompose.

So, in addition to having foul breath, why would a child’s tongue be white? The muck trapped between the small bumps on the tongue, known as papillae, gives it a white appearance. Brushing your child’s tongue after brushing their teeth will help them get rid of both bad breath and the white tongue coating.

Dry Mouth

Your toddler’s breath may smell foul due to xerostomia, or dry mouth. Halitosis develops when there isn’t enough saliva to wipe away the bacteria in their mouths. If your child breathes via their mouth, they may experience dry mouth.

Tooth Decay

Your child’s halitosis could be caused by a cavity or tooth decay. Not only can cavity-causing bacteria emit scents, but food is also more likely to become lodged in the damaged area of the tooth, making it more difficult to brush away, adding to the stink.

Dental Infections

Other disorders, such as mouth sores or a tooth abscess, can also produce halitosis because they are infections.

Ear, Nose & Throat Conditions

Breathing problems in your toddler might be caused by underlying ear, nose, and throat issues. Bad breath can be caused by sinus infections, tonsillitis, and various seasonal allergies (including a plain old sore throat!). Consult your child’s doctor or dentist if you’re concerned about his or her poor breath.

Gum Disease

People of all ages, including children, are affected by gum disease, which causes bad breath. What is gum disease, exactly? Gum disease is an infection or inflammation of the gum tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. While children are unlikely to acquire periodontitis, the most advanced form of gum disease, they are more likely to get gingivitis, a less serious form of gum disease (and some seriously sore gums).

When soft plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) build up on the teeth and under the gumline, gingivitis develops. Plaque bacteria and toxins invade the gums, producing irritation and bad breath that doesn’t go away even after brushing your teeth. Gum disease is no exception to the rule that infections stink.

Loose Crowns or Fillings

If your toddler is unlucky enough to have had to have got fillings in their mouths, a loose crown or filling can get food stuck under there and cause horrendous breath.

Big Tonsils

Children with huge tonsils or tonsils with deep pits in them may have foul breath. This is due to the tonsils acting as a magnet for food, bacteria, and nasal secretions. Tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, can form in the pits and produce an odour when they degrade.

Other Health Conditions

Diabetes, gastric reflux disease, thrush, and, in rare circumstances, liver and renal problems, can all produce bad breath in youngsters. While the vast majority of cases of halitosis aren’t serious, consult your child’s paediatrician if the other causes of bad breath have been checked out.

Something Stuck In The Nose

Last but not least, we must add an object lodged in the nose when it comes to what can cause foul breath in infants. Food and toys are commonly placed in the noses of babies and toddlers, and if foreign bodies become lodged there, irritation, a runny nose, and a foul odour can result. If your child has a fever and dark green mucus and you suspect they have shoved something up their nose, seek medical help immediately once.

How To Treat A Teething Toddler With Bad Breath 

Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers

1. Look for a foreign object in their mouth.

First things first, ensure sure your infant doesn’t have anything stuck between their cheek and gums, such as a piece of food or a foreign object. Something small can get stuck in the mouth’s pocket and generate an odour over time. Simply identify the thing and remove it with care. Simple!

2. Examine your mouth for signs of dryness.

Do you have a youngster who has a dry mouth? Dry mouth in babies can be caused by certain drugs or by breathing through the mouth rather than through the nose. A dry mouth indicates a lack of saliva, which means bacteria cannot be washed away naturally. When a baby’s breath stinks, microbial buildup is frequently the culprit.

3. Examine Their Tongue

Hopefully, you’re brushing your child’s new teeth for two minutes at a time a couple of times a day. But do you remember to brush their teeth and their tongue as well? The tongue is home to a slew of odor-causing microorganisms that are often overlooked. Brush your child’s tongue gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush for a few seconds while brushing their teeth.

4. Consult with their child’s paediatrician

A cold, the flu, or allergies can cause bad breath in babies. Bacteria in your child’s nose and throat may be the source of foul breath. If you observe any signs of a respiratory ailment in your kid, contact his or her paediatrician to see if an appointment is recommended.

5. Consult with their child’s pediatric dentist

If your baby’s breath smells and there are no obvious causes, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your child’s paediatric dentist – this is the best way to get to the bottom of the problem. Remember that your child should see the dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. A paediatric dentist can assist you figure out what’s causing your baby’s bad breath.

When To Start Brushing Your Toddlers Teeth

Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers

All children should have their first dental visit within 6 months of age after the baby’s first tooth but no later than the child’s first birthday (FYI – Freddie had his first dental visit at around 18 months so, whatever!).

Still, it’s a good idea that you start teaching your child to take care of their teeth from an early age. As soon as the first teeth appear, be sure you (or your toddler, if they’re on top of them) gently brush on and around them with fluoride toothpaste (this can just be with your clean finger to start).

For children under 3 years, use no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years, use no more than a pea-sized amount. Young children should be supervised while brushing. Cavities tend to be most common in and between the molars, especially in young children who can’t floss and brush the back teeth as well as the front. Being mindful of the position of the molars can help in preventing cavities and tooth decay.

For more info, see our post on toddler teeth brushing

Can Teething Cause Toddler Bad Breath: Essential Resources

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Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers

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