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One of my friend’s child, aged 6 months, has bad breath. What is the reason for this and what action can be taken to stop it and prevent it from happening again.
Thank you.

Asked by Amutha - Posted 8 years, 2 months, 1 week, 3 days, 11 hours, 3 minutes ago.

Hi Amutha,

Here’s The Deal About Most Baby Breath And It’s Really Simple.

The main reason is dry mouth. This condition encourages the growth of naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria create that horrible smell known as morning breath. The more bacteria, the worse the breath smell.

Children who suck their thumbs are likely to have dry mouth. Sucking on a pacifier, a blankie or toy can also dry out a baby’s mouth. This can be made worse if the blanket or toy aren’t kept washed and cleaned of dried saliva and bacteria.

Another reason babies can have a dry mouth is mouth breathing. Infants often begin to mouth breathe as soon as they fall asleep. This is the same thing that happens to many people - young, old and in between. During sleep, mouth and jaw muscles relax, saliva production drops, and you may even hear little baby snores. When saliva production decreases, the dry mouth is a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause bad breath. The longer your baby sleeps, the drier her mouth will get, and the more the bacteria in her mouth will multiply. Your baby can have the same horrible morning breath that you have.

Medical causes:
Infection: If your child has a frequent and major problem with halitosis, you should ask your pediatrician to check her for signs of infection. There could be an infection in her mouth or throat, or a sinus or ear infection that is causing the bad smell. If breathing is impeded, this could also cause unaccustomed mouth breathing. Gastro esophageal reflux (heart burn): frequent vomits or posseting in babies can lead to bacterial build up in the mouth and bad breath. If reflux symptoms is associated with recurrent coughing, wheezing or poor weight gain, then the baby will require a medical review.

Simple oral hygiene such as using a flouride free tooth paste ( first teeth) with a soft finger tooth brush usually does the trick. If however your friends baby has any of the medical problems listed above, then its best to see your pediatrician. I hope this has been of some help.

With kind regards

Sanjay Woodhull
Consultant Paediatrician

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