Bad breath, or halitosis, in children is often the result of bacteria building up between teeth or on the back of the tongue. In other cases, certain foods that your child eats, sinus conditions, improper dental hygiene or an underlying medical condition might be the culprit. If the halitosis persists after trying the self-care techniques described here, seek medical attention. Before using any these home remedies consult with your health care provider to discuss any potential health risks.
A dry mouth decreases the production of saliva, which plays an important role in washing away food particles and bacteria in a child's mouth. Encourage your child to drink more water, and if the child is older you might suggest that he chew sugarless gum or suck on a piece of sugarless candy to stimulate saliva to help reduce or eliminate his dry mouth. Avoid soft drinks because they might leave a residual odor if they attach to the plaque in your child's mouth.
Dr. Eric Shapira, a dentist in El Granada, California, and an assistant clinical professor at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, California, suggests brushing your tongue while you are brushing your teeth. The tongue has hair-like projections that can harbor plaque and bacteria from the things that you eat. Shapira notes that sweeping the top of your tongue with a toothbrush will help remove the food and bacteria left on the back of the tongue that might cause bad breath. Teaching your child the proper techniques of brushing her teeth and including tongue brushing in the routine might help to reduce bad breath.
Making a gargle with natural extracts of sage, calendula and myrrh gum in equal parts is a way to combat bad breath and can be used up to four times daily by older children, according to Dr. Jerry F. Taintor, an endodontist in Memphis Tennessee. Keep the homemade mouthwash in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature. At first, your child might not like the smell or taste of the gargle, but the desire for fresh breath might outweigh that drawback. In addition, Taintor suggests if your child is not able to brush his teeth or use mouthwash after a meal, that he try simply gargling with a sip of water after meals or at least swishing water around inside his mouth to rinse out food particles may help decrease mouth odor from food.
Eating a piece of parsley after meals or adding it to your meals is a natural way to help neutralize bad breath. Parsley is a mild antiseptic and aids in the digestion process, while reducing intestinal gas that might contribute to halitosis. Consuming parsley in large quantities may cause liver and kidney damage, though, so consult with your health provider prior to use.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is popular in many home remedies, including those for reducing or eliminating bad breath odors. You can dilute 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and have your child drink it before eating a meal, or gargle with it for 10 seconds after the meal. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties and aids in digestion, but limited research information is available on how it works as a breath freshner. Consuming large amounts of apple cider vinegar may damage tooth enamel, the esophagus and soft tissue in the body, so consulting with a medical professional is advisable before use.