Nobody likes bad breath. Whether in adults or in kids, bad breath is something we all aim to avoid by brushing and using other solutions (gum, mints, mouthwash) throughout the day. However, an unpleasant odor originating in the mouth can possibly be a sign of other oral hygiene issues.
What is halitosis?
Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. Most commonly associated with foods such as garlic, onions, coffee and fish, and also associated with habits such as smoking, halitosis can also be caused by more serious factors.
Is bad breath a sign of poor oral hygiene?
Possibly. If there are large cavities in the teeth, bacteria can be stuck in the cavity itself and can cause an odor. An infection in the mouth can also lead to bad breath. It goes without saying that brushing twice a day is an essential component in combating bad breath. Flossing is equally important since food can get stuck in your teeth and when it starts to decompose, it will produce an unpleasant odor in the mouth. For kids, parents should always ensure that a daily flossing occurs, and until kids are old enough, parents should manually floss their child’s teeth to ensure a proper cleaning.
Dehydration and bad breath
One of the most common causes of bad breath is a lack of water intake. Dehydration means that your body lacks enough water to produce adequate saliva, which is a key component in fighting odor causing bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, the physical act of drinking water helps to rinse the mouth itself, clearing out food that may be remaining during the day and between brushing sessions.
Should you brush your tongue?
Yes. Brushing your tongue should be a normal part of the oral hygiene routine for both kids and adults. This should include brushing the roof of the mouth, also known as the hard palate. These areas contain bacteria that can cause bad breath and should be brushed properly. Brushing your tongue and the roof of the mouth can eliminate bacteria that may not have been removed with mouthwash or rinsing with water.
For parents, it is important to include tongue-brushing in your child’s routine as early as possible so that it becomes a normal habit for them. Be sure to help young kids manually brush their tongue and ensure that older kids are not brushing their tongue too hard as it can hurt the skin.
What about mouthwash for kids?
Mouthwash is a temporary fix for bad breath. While there are numerous marketing efforts promoting mouthwash as a cure-all for bad breath, it cannot replace a solid oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, flossing and proper hydration. Mouthwash cannot remove the tough bacteria that is stuck on the tongue, and it cannot remove food that may be stuck in between teeth. There is no instant cure for bad breath other than a diligent oral hygiene routine. Mints, gum and mouthwash are simply able to mask bad breath for a short time period.