Bad Breath in Kids

Bad Breath in Children Can Mean a More Serious Health Issue

Bad breath in children can get worse throughout the day because as they breathe, their mouth becomes dryer, allowing bacteria to grow. Children need to see a pediatrician especially if they have to breathe out of their mouths due to colds, sinus infections, allergies, or bigger-than-average tonsils and adenoids blocking their nasal passages. Thumb sucking can also dry out the mouth.

For children, here is a list of uncommon bad breath odors that may be a sign of a much more serious health complication:

  • Acetone – diabetes or acetone, alcohol, phenol, or salicylate ingestion
  • Ammonia – possibly a urinary tract infections or kidney failure
  • Asparagus – eating asparagus (yes, it may happen)
  • Bitter almonds – cyanide poisoning
  • Cat’s urine – odor of cats syndrome (beta-methyl-crotonyl-CoA-carboxylase deficiency)
  • Celery – Oasthouse urine disease
  • Dead fish – stale fish syndrome (trimethylamine oxidase deficiency)
  • Fresh-baked bread – typhoid fever
  • Foul – tonsillitis, sinusitis, gingivitis, lung abscess, or dental cavities
  • Garlic – arsenic, phosphorus, organic phosphate insecticides, or thallium poisoning
  • Horse-like (also described as mouse-like or musty) – phenylketonuria
  • Rancid butter – rancid butter syndrome (hypermethionemia and hypertyrosinemia)
  • Raw liver – liver failure
  • Sweaty socks – odor of sweaty feet syndrome (Isovalryl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency) or sweaty feet syndrome II (Green acyldehydrogenase deficiency)
  • Violets – turpentine poisoning

Also, don’t forget that little kids often stuff things in their mouth or noses, so always pay close attention, especially if there’s discolored nasal discharge.

Source: Alan Greene MD FAAP

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2 Responses to “Bad Breath in Kids”

  1. Alex Cottier Says:

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  2. Dental Hygienist Mississauga Says:

    Wow, this has been really helpful. Thankyou.

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