At Gentle Dental, we’re assured by all of our younger patients that they diligently brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. OK, maybe they do both of those things, at times, in a cursory fashion. But they still chew minty gum lots of the time and munch on the occasional Tic Tac.
So, why does their kid breath leave so much to be desired?
Truth is, not all bad breath is due to buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. There are reasons that most people don’t even know can lead to bad breath in children and teenagers. And now that the kids are back in school (finally!), no one wants them to go around with foul breath. That’s no way to deal with junior high and high school!
Here are some reasons behind that, uh, less than minty fresh breath.
Healthy tonsils should look like a bright pink Hello Kitty lunchbox, and they should not have spots on them. Infected tonsils will appear red, inflamed, and have white spots on them. The smell will be less than appealing. Bacteria can collect in the pits of swollen tonsils and create bad breath. Antibiotics will be required to cure this breath, and maybe a tonsillectomy.
Want to have the perfect storm for bad breath? Allow fluids to collect in the nasal passages and the throat with a sinus infection. When this happens, bacteria go crazy and start multiplying like rabbits. Brushing won’t do a thing to this type of bad breath, so ask your child if he or she has a sore throat or burning nasal passages. Then call the doctor.
Kids may run around like the Energizer bunny, but water consumption isn’t usually a focal point. A lack of water means the mouth produces less saliva, and since part of the job of saliva is to wash away odor-causing bacteria, guess what’s next? Bad breath. Getting your kids to drink more water isn’t being an excessive, controlling, helicopter parent. Hydration is good and dry mouth is bad. Beyond bad breath, it can lead to tooth decay.
Decay and gingivitis
The other root cause of bad breath could actually stem from poor brushing, but it wasn’t this morning’s brushing. If decay and gingivitis (gum irritation) have taken hold due to lackadaisical brushing, both conditions create bad breath that won’t be remedied by immediate brushing. A trip to see our team at Gentle Dental will fix the issues, usually with the placement of a composite resin filling after the decay has been removed.
See? It may not be the case that your child would rather have a test in school than brush his or her teeth. That may not be causing the bad breath. Still, be sure they’re brushing and flossing regularly, and coming to see us twice yearly for professional cleanings and exams with us at Gentle Dental. Call us at (732) 549-5660 to schedule your appointment.