Baby bad breath as well as bad breath in toddlers is relatively uncommon, but it can occur. It most often occurs after the baby or toddler has been asleep for a while because the bacteria in the mouth multiply during sleep and produce a bad odor. Bad breath after a night’s sleep is also known as “morning breath”.
To get rid of “morning breath”, rinse the child’s mouth with water before their nap to clean away traces of food or milk from the teeth and mouth. If your little one has teeth, you can brush them and have your child flush their mouth and rinse with water. These simple measures will often stop bad breath. However, if bad breath persists you will need to look for another cause.
Bacteria causes baby bad breath. If your baby sucks on a pacifier or a comfort toy, their saliva with its oral bacteria gets transferred to this object. As a result, these objects can develop an unpleasant smell. When sucked on continually, the bad odor can transfer to other objects they come in contact with, including the baby’s mouth. It is important to regularly wash and sanitize objects that go into your baby’s mouth. When your child stops sucking objects, this problem will disappear.
If you follow both these steps and bad breath continues in your young child, you should consult your doctor. The answer is likely to be an infection, tooth decay or a foreign object stuck in a nasal passage. Congested sinuses can also cause bad breath because they can cause the baby to mouth-breathe, causing the mouth to become dry. Saliva is naturally antibacterial and keeps oral bacteria at acceptable levels. Without it, the mouth becomes dry and bacteria thrive.
The best way to deal with baby bad breath is to lower the numbers of anaerobic bacteria in your baby’s or toddler’s mouth and to make sure there is no food debris or trace of milk left in the mouth that can decompose. This means it's not a good idea to let your child fall asleep sucking a bottle of milk. You can, however, allow a baby to fall asleep sucking a bottle of water. In fact, one important aspect of treating baby bad breath is to ensure your child drinks plenty of pure water throughout the day.
Sometimes baby bad breath is caused by gastro-esophageal reflux (acid bad breath reflux) or regurgitating food and if this is the case, you need to have the baby examined by a physician.
Sugar in a baby’s or toddler’s diet can also lead to bad breath because it feeds the bacteria in the mouth. Sugary drinks, cakes, custards and other deserts all come under the category of sugar and can affect your child’s health. If you make sure your child’s diet is healthy and does not include high sugar and high fat foods and drinks, bad breath will rarely occur.
Most bad breath in babies and toddlers falls into these categories. If bad breath persists and its cause is unidentifiable, ask for a referral to a pediatrician and request a complete examination. There is always a cause of bad breath in babies and toddlers and if you have eliminated all the common causes, you will have to look for less common ones. However, for most situations the steps outlined in this article will work and your baby’s breath will once again smell sweet.