Halitosis is a problem that affects almost everyone at one point or another, and children can be particularly susceptible to it because they don't always adhere to good oral health habits such as brushing daily. Unfortunately, bad breath can be a source of bullying for children, so helping your child combat this problem can prevent social problems with classmates and protect the child's self-esteem. Here are three ways to help your kid combat halitosis.
Manage Food Intake
Food is one of the primary causes of bad breath for a couple of reasons. First, when food breaks down, it enters the bloodstream. The blood then travels to the lungs where odors from the food can permeate the air there. More odorous foods such as onions, garlic, and certain spices can make a person's breath smell long after eating a meal.
You can combat this issue by timing when your child has certain foods. For instance, if your kid loves onions, maybe only allow him or her to eat them in the evening. The food will have processed out of his or her system by the morning, reducing the risk he or she will aspirate foul-smelling breath at school.
A second way food causes bad breath is that food particles often get stuck in the teeth, gums, and tongue. If the child doesn't floss everyday to get rid of these particles, they can lead to bacterial growth that contributes to bad breath. Encouraging your child to floss at least once per day, or doing it for them if he or she is really young, can help clear out this debris and reduce incidents of halitosis.
Another thing you can do to tackle this problem is to be certain to pack crunchy foods in your kid's lunch and have them eat these foods last. Crunchy foods like apples, celery, and carrots can help clean teeth because they are natural abrasives that brush away plaque that contribute to bad breath. They also typically must be chewed for longer periods of time, which encourages saliva production that can help wash away excess food particles.
Teach the Swishing Technique
It's not always feasible for your child to brush his or her teeth after eating food, especially at school. What you can do to help minimize the amount of food particles left behind after eating is to teach your child to swish his or her mouth out with water after consuming food. In addition to getting rid of food particles that can cause bad breath, the swish technique can reduce or eliminate sugar and acid residue that can cause cavities (which also contribute to halitosis).
Because water is safe to swallow, this technique can be used with kids of any age. If your child's halitosis is particularly bad and he or she is an older kid capable of understanding when to spit out certain substances, have him or her rinse with child-safe mouthwash instead.
Get Cavities Fixed ASAP
Cavities occur when bacteria damage teeth so much they begin cracking and rotting away. Not only can this process be smelly, but food particles can get trapped in these cracks, which may make it difficult to brush or rinse the debris away. The result is the food particles also begin rotting in the mouth and causing a bad odor.
Take your child for regular dental checkups and have any cavities cleaned and filled to prevent this problem.
While bad breath is mostly a cosmetic issue, it can have a negative impact on your child's ability to socialize with others. Taking time to help your child manage the issue can provide him or her with the confidence needed to make friends. For more tips on treating halitosis in children, contact a pediatric dentist.