Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers? Here’s The Reason For The Stench

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Your sweet, adorable toddler is the twinkle of your eye. Until she opens her mouth. Instead of letting the stench knock you out each time, let’s talk about something that might have crossed your mind as you navigate the journey of toddlerhood with your little one: bad breath in toddlers. Specifically, can teething be the culprit behind that not-so-pleasant odor coming from your toddler’s mouth? It’s a common question among us moms, especially when those first teeth start popping through. Can teething cause bad breath in toddlers? Let’s find out!!

Can teething cause bad breath in toddlers?

Disclaimer: You may find affiliate links in this post for your convenience. See our disclosures here. I am not a doctor or medical professional. Everything in this blog post is of my own opinions, speculations, and experiences. Please take your toddler to the doctor if this becomes a serious, most concerning issue.

What causes bad breath in toddlers?

Before we jump in, it’s important to know that teething itself typically doesn’t cause bad breath. When your baby’s teeth are on their way, you might notice symptoms like fussiness, drooling, or a slight fever, but bad breath usually isn’t one of them. 

However, the processes associated with teething, like excessive drooling, can contribute indirectly. More saliva can mean more food debris sticking around in the mouth, which bacteria love to feast on, leading to that foul odor. 

If your little one is experiencing pain or discomfort from teething, they may be less interested in brushing their teeth or maintaining proper oral hygiene. Neglecting to brush their teeth properly can lead to plaque buildup and food particles lingering in the mouth, which can cause bad breath. 

But it’s not just teething that can be the causes of bad breath in toddlers. Other factors could include an infection such as a cold or sinusitis, which can lead to post-nasal drip, causing bacteria buildup and resulting in bad breath. Certain foods like onions and garlic can also contribute to temporary unpleasant breath.

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While toddler’s bad breath during teething might get a pass, several other factors can contribute to your toddler’s breath, turning a bit stinky. Here are some common culprits from what I learned about through thorough research when Scout my youngest kiddo, was experiencing this not too long ago:

21 Causes of bad breath in toddlers

Wondering what causes bad breath in toddlers? Here are 21 different causes! Take a look and see if any of these line. upwith your child.

  1. Dry Mouth: Toddlers who breathe through their mouths, especially during sleep (hello, stuffy noses and sinus infections!), might not produce enough saliva. Saliva is essential for washing away food particles and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. Less saliva can mean more unpleasant smells.
  2. Food Debris: It’s not just about sugary treats; even healthy foods can get stuck in tiny teeth and along the gum line. These leftovers can create a buffet for oral bacteria, which produce those foul odors as they digest.
  3. Medical Conditions: Sometimes, bad breath can indicate something more than just a dental issue. Conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), tonsil stones, or even seasonal allergies can lead to an increase in bad breath through various mechanisms like acid reflux or nasal secretions entering the back of the throat.
  4. Foreign Objects: A less common but possible cause of smelly breath in toddlers is the presence of a foreign object stuck in a nasal passage. Curious toddlers might shove a tiny object up their nose, leading to nasal congestion and subsequent bad breath. If you suspect that your child has something stuck in their nose, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  5. Vitamin Deficiencies: Deficiencies in vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and B vitamins, can affect the health of gums and other tissues in the mouth, potentially leading to gum disease and bad breath.
  6. Candida Infections: Oral thrush, a yeast infection caused by Candida albicans, can appear as white patches in the mouth and can cause a foul smell if not treated.
  7. Sinusitis: Chronic sinus infections can lead to ongoing nasal congestion and post-nasal drip, adding to the causes of bad breath in toddlers due to the bacteria involved.
  8. Lactose Intolerance or Other Food Intolerances: These conditions can cause digestive disturbances that may lead to bad breath. For instance, undigested lactose can ferment in the intestines, producing unpleasant smelling gases that can be exhaled.
  9. Poor Diet Overall: A diet lacking in fruits, vegetables, and adequate fibers can lead to poor digestion and increased bacterial growth in the mouth, contributing to bad breath.
  10. Inadequate Tooth Brushing: If toddlers aren’t brushing effectively or skipping brushing sessions, it can lead to the buildup of plaque and food particles, causing bad breath.
  11. Infections: Oral infections or infections in the respiratory tract, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, can cause bad breath due to the presence of extra bacteria and mucus.
  12. Dehydration: When toddlers don’t drink enough fluids, their mouths can become dry, reducing saliva production which is essential for cleansing the mouth and controlling bacteria.
  13. Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use: These habits can sometimes lead to the accumulation of saliva and oral bacteria around the mouth, which might produce foul odors.
  14. Specific Diet: Consuming odorous foods like onions, garlic, or certain spices can affect a toddler’s breath. Additionally, a high-sugar diet can promote bacterial growth that leads to bad breath.
  15. Digestive Issues: Problems like constipation or infrequent bowel movements can cause bad breath due to the build-up of waste products in the body, which can influence breath odor.
  16. Protein-Rich Diet: A diet too high in protein can cause the body to produce ammonia as it breaks down the protein, which can lead to an unpleasant breath odor.
  17. Medications or Vitamins: Certain medications and vitamins can cause a chemical change in the mouth or body odor, including breath.
  18. Mouth Injuries: Small cuts or injuries inside a toddler’s mouth can harbor bacteria and cause infection, leading to bad breath.
  19. Allergic Rhinitis: Allergies can lead to post-nasal drip, where excess mucus accumulates in the throat and nasal passages, causing an unpleasant odor when it mixes with bacteria in the throat and mouth.
  20. Tooth Decay: Poor oral hygiene and failure to remove food particles from the mouth can lead to tooth decay, which produces a foul odor.
  21. Mouth Breathing: When your child sleeps and breaths through the mouth and not their nose.

So, can teething cause bad breath in toddlers?? Well, as you can see, there can be a whole slew of reasons why your tot has the smellies. Just keep an eye on your toddler’s bad breath during teething, in addition to these potential causes, to help you address and manage bad breath in your toddler .

What is Mouth Breathing in Toddlers?

I always knew what this was, but I didn’t know it was called mouth breathing until very recently.

It reminds me of that scene in Stranger Things when Eleven copies what Mike says: “Mouth breather.”

Mouth breathing in toddlers is a common habit where they primarily breathe through their mouth instead of their nose.

Mouth breathing can occur for various reasons, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a deviated septum, or allergies. It can also be caused by thumb sucking or pacifier use that results in an open bite, making it difficult for the child to close their lips and breathe through their nose.

What causes of bad breath in toddlers?

This habit can lead to numerous health issues, including bad breath. When toddlers continuously breathe through their mouth, they do not have enough saliva production to help clean bacteria and food particles from their teeth and mouth. This lack of saliva can result in dry mouth syndrome, which increases the risk of tooth decay and bad breath.

When children breathe through their mouths, they are not taking advantage of the natural filtration system that the nose provides. The nose has tiny hairs and mucus that help trap allergens, bacteria, and viruses from entering the body. Without this protection, children who breathe through their mouths may be more prone to respiratory infections.

But perhaps one of the most concerning effects of mouth breathing is its impact on facial development. When children constantly breathe through their mouth, they may develop an elongated face, narrow dental arches, and a smaller lower jaw. These changes can lead to problems with speech and chewing as well as potential orthodontic issues in the future.

When should I be concerned about my toddler’s bad breath?

As a parent, it’s natural to worry about your child’s health and well-being. This includes their oral health, which can sometimes be overlooked in young children. If you’ve noticed that your toddler has consistently bad breath, it might be time to address the issue.

Just know that bad breath is not uncommon in toddlers. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor oral hygiene or certain foods they eat, as you just learned. But, if the ranky breath persists despite all your positive efforts, like good habits and dietary changes, it could indicate an underlying problem.

Toddler Bad Breath Home Remedies

You might even find some toddler bad breath home remedies. Here are two that might work:

Using Parsley: Parsley is a natural breath freshener thanks to its high chlorophyll content, which is a natural deodorizer. You can let your toddler chew on a fresh sprig of parsley after meals.

Make Homemade Mouthwash: You can create a gentle mouthwash for your toddler by mixing a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda, which neutralizes mouth acidity and fights bad breath. Ensure they swish and spit it out without swallowing.

If your child’s bad breath continues for more than a few weeks, it may be best to consult with their pediatrician or a pediatric dentist. They can examine your child’s mouth and determine the underlying cause of their bad breath. This way, you can answer that question that’s been nagging at you “can teething cause bad breath in toddlers?”

In some cases, it may be due to a more serious issue such as tooth decay or an infection. Or maybe something altogether that you can’t see.

How To Fix Toddler’s Bad Breath During Teething

The good news is that there are steps you can take to help alleviate the causes of bad breath in toddlers. In addition to seeking professional help, there are also steps you can take at home to improve your toddler’s oral health and combat bad breath. As moms, we want the best for our toddlers, especially when it comes to their health. Here are some best ways to address and prevent bad breath in your little one:

Good Oral Hygiene

First and foremost, continue to encourage good oral hygiene habits, even during the discomfort of teething. Gently brush their teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water or a small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste for infants. 

I used to put one of those finger toothbrushes on my finger when Scout was still a young toddler/old baby. This helped keep his gums clean, and remove that sugary milk or formula leftover and in the crevices.

Do you have a toddler with bad breath? Toddler breath smells and his/her little grinning making you wince? Discover the 21 causes of bad breath in toddlers and learn effective ways to combat toddler bad breath! This is a tricky situation - but I've got you covered with tips on how to get rid of bad breath in toddlers. You toddler breath smells now but not for long! Check out this advice on how to know if it's toddler mouth breathing or just bad breath in general!
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Keep Hydrated

Make sure your toddler stays hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This can help wash away any lingering food particles or bacteria in the mouth that may be contributing to bad breath. 

You can also offer them healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables that have high water content, such as apples and cucumbers.

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Be Mindful of Food and Diet

It’s also important to keep an eye on your child’s diet during this time (and, honestly, all the time). As mentioned before, certain foods can contribute to bad breath. It’s a good idea to ensure they rinse or drink water after meals to help clear out any leftover food particles that might stick around and cause issues. Also, limit sugary snacks and drinks in your child’s diet, as they can promote the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.

Regular Dental Visits

In addition to these preventive measures, it’s crucial to schedule regular dental check-ups for your child. Starting dental care early is key. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist can help catch and address any dental infections or plaque buildup before they become serious problems.

First and foremost, make sure your child is brushing their teeth properly at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. This will help remove plaque and bacteria from their teeth and freshen their breath.

Clean Your Toddler’s Mouth Items – And Don’t Forget To Replace the Toothbrush Regularly!

Another helpful tip is to regularly clean your toddler’s pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups. These items can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria if not cleaned properly. And your toddler’s bad breath during teething won’t be your only problem then…your sweet one will get sick!

Introduce Flossing Regularly

And don’t forget about the importance of flossing! Even toddlers should be introduced to flossing at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between their teeth.

You can find fun flossers for your toddler available these days that encourage flossing, along with fun songs for flossing and brushing!

Check for Health Issues

Again, go get your tot checked out if the bad breath becomes really concerning. Because if your toddler’s bad breath persists, it might be a good idea to consult your child’s pediatrician or a pediatric dentist so they can check for any underlying dental problems or health conditions that might be contributing to the problem. Even unseen ones!

Remember, good oral hygiene in childhood sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums!

Do you toddler's bad breath during teething? Toddler breath smells and his/her little grinning making you wince? 😷 Discover how teething can cause bad breath in toddlers and learn effective ways to combat toddler bad breath! 👶 👩‍👧‍👦 This is a tricky situation - but I've got you covered with tips on how to get rid of bad breath in toddlers. You toddler breath smells now but not for long! Check out this advice on how to know out toddler mouth breathing or just bad breath in general!

Can Teething Cause Bad Breath In Toddlers?

While toddler’s bad breath during teething might not be directly responsible for the causes of bad breath in toddlers overall, it’s always good to be aware of the other factors that can contribute to it. With good oral hygiene practices and a watchful eye on their overall health, you can help keep your toddler’s breath fresh and their smiles bright. Let’s cherish these growing moments, even the ones that come with a little stink. After all, these are the tiny steps on the path of their big journey in life!

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