Originally published 3/28/2011
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a distressing problem for the child or his parents. In general, most cases are due to mouth, throat or sinus infections. In children there are two more common causes of chronic halitosis: chronic mouth breathing and thumb sucking. Less commonly, a child may have a foreign body in his nose, or he may have various esophageal, gastrointestinal, or lung problems.
Orthodontic devices can lead to bad breath if good oral hygiene is not maintained. Rarely, offensive skin odors associated with poor hygiene of long duration can be absorbed and excreted through the lungs.
Check with your son’s pediatrician for further details. He may need a complete physical examination to look for these other causes of bad breath. Mouth washes and other breath fresheners are of limited value in the treatment of chronic halitosis.