Kids Want To Know: Why Does My Breath Smell?

Isaac asked: "Why does my breath stink sometimes?"

How can such a cute kid have bad breath? Well, milk breath can start early! The American Dental Association says parents can start cleaning their baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. As they grow, parents should wipe their gums with a clean gauze pad after each feeding to remove plaque and residual food that can harm erupting teeth.

But once kids can brush for themselves, what can be done? Dr. Scott Cashion of Pediatric Dentistry of Greensboro explained what causes it, and how you can stop it, in terms we can all understand. He said, "One of the things I tell kids is sometimes when your breath smells the worst is in the morning because you have been asleep. When you sleep, you don't produce a lot of spit or saliva." Dr. Cashion said that's when bacteria has a 'party' in your mouth! He said the bacteria hangs out in dry areas and eats on the teeth, gums, and tongue and that's what makes the odor.

So how do you prevent smelly breath? Brushing! Dr. Cashion said he tells parents that kids may not like to brush, but you can make it fun by saying "wiggle, jiggle, one two three" as you brush. You go all the way around on the bottom teeth, get on the outside and inside and on the biting side, and repeat the process for the top teeth. Plus, Dr. Cashion reminds us all not to forget the tongue! "The tongue is a place where bacteria love to hang out and have a party, so we want to make sure we brush the tongue. We take the toothbrush in there, get the tongue, put it on top, pull outward, doing that three to five times is probably good but you want to get back as far as you can because the bacteria love the way far back where it's just hard to get."

Dr. Cashion said that's going to help not only keep your breath fresh so it doesn't smell or stink, but it's also going to keep your teeth from getting cavities.


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