Bad breath in children


Unpleasant odor to the breath, technically halitosis, is a complaint we sometimes see in children. Contrary to popular belief, gastrointestinal disorders do not usually cause halitosis, so breath odor does not reflect the state of digestive system or bowel function. The most common and normal cause is so-called morning breath, which everybody has to some degree. Regular salivary flow stops with sleep. This allows mouth germs an opportunity to feed on remaining food particles. Old shed mouth lining cells, and stagnant saliva. The byproducts of bacterial metabolism produce the foul odor. The most familiar cause of bad breath in a young child in the "stick things in the nose" age range is a nasal foreign body - like a piece of foam rubber, or corn, or a bean - whatever.

Bad breath- a familiar condition

Bad breath is a familiar condition that usually originates in the mouth itself, and thus falls under the responsibility of the dental practitioner. In individuals with a healthy periodontium and good oral hygiene, bad breath usually comes from the posterior tongue dorsum, and can be treated by regular deep tongue cleaning. Nasal problems are an important secondary cause of bad breath, and are easy to detect by comparing the odor exiting the mouth and nose. Numerous other medical conditions can lead to bad breath, but are found very infrequently, as compared with odor of oral and nasal etiologies. Contrary to popular belief, the gastrointestinal tract is rarely, if ever, responsible for chronic bad breath. Because people have trouble assessing their own oral malodor, many individuals develop greatly exaggerated concerns of suffering from bad breath, while millions of others remain oblivious to their own oral odors.

Conclusions

In most cases, good professional oral care combined with a daily regimen of oral hygiene including interdentally cleaning, deep tongue cleaning and optional use of an efficacious mouth rinse, will lead to improvement. Cases in which the malodor continues to persist should be promptly referred to the physician. Essentially any oral sites in which microbial accumulation and putrefaction can occur are suspect. In addition to the most common intra-oral sites of malodor production other foci may include faulty restorations, sites of food impaction and abscesses. Caries are not considered to be particularly malodorous, unless sufficiently large to allow entrapment of food.

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