Phone: 910-778-8485 fax: 910-778-8477

2980 Ray Road Spring Lake NC 28390 Near Overhills Schools

Vincent Vissichelli, DMD

Board Certified Pediatric Dentist

Specializing in the treatment of infants, children, teens and special needs patients

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Bad Breath (Halitosis) – What to do?

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR BAD BREATH?
· The cause of halitosis is often the coating on the middle third of the tongue. Therefore, gentle daily cleaning of the back (TOP) of the tongue is very important. A tongue cleaner should be used to  gently clean the tongue surface.
· Routine oral hygiene procedures such as brushing and flossing are very important. Remember that children younger than 8 years of age are usually not able to floss on their own. Mouth rinses can also be useful, but only for children who have learned to spit it out..
· When bad breath is due to dry mouth (xerostomia), treatment involves having the child drink lots of sugar-free fluids. Sugarless gum may stimulate salivary flow. In very severe cases, an artificial salivary substitute such as carboxymethylcellulose may be needed.
· If bad breath is due to periodontal disease, an important part of the treatment is to improve oral hygiene at home.
· If bad breath is due to dental disease, treatment will be needed to restore or extract affected teeth.

Preventing Bad Breath
· Children should brush their teeth three times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. They should use dental floss every day to help reduce mouth odor. Children younger than 8 years of age will need to have their parents help them floss.

· Children should gently brush the posterior part (dorsum) of the tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush every day.
· Children should eat a good breakfast, as this will stimulate the flow of saliva and reduce oral microbial levels. Eating fibrous foods is highly recommended.
· Children with bad breath should rinse frequently with water, and drink plenty of fluids to help reduce dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum will also help stimulate salivary flow.
· Children should always avoid alcohol-containing mouth rinses, as they dry the oral tissues and may cause oral tissue sloughing. Remember that mouthwashes can poison young children, and should be kept out of reach of toddlers.
· Children should visit their dentist and physician regularly.

 

Bad Breath (Halitosis) – What causes it?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a symptom of various conditions including: postnasal drip, dry mouth, dental problems, and sinusitis. Halitosis in children is often due to the decomposition of mucus secretions and debris which accumulate on the tongue, in the nose, and between the teeth.

Halitosis is an offensive odor which comes from the mouth, nose, or airway. It is also defined as exhaled air containing more than 75 parts per billion of odor-producing volatile sulfur compounds.
WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF HALITOSIS IN CHILDREN?
· Halitosis can be caused by oral sources, non-oral sources, and psychological problems.
· The source of halitosis is the oral cavity in up to 85% of affected individuals. The most common odor-causing sites in the mouth are: the (dorsum) top the tongue, the area between the teeth, and under the gum line.
· The coating on the tongue usually consists of shed surface cells of the tongue, blood cells, and bacteria. It is possible for more than 100 bacteria to attach to just one oral of these cells. The worst oral odor occurs when many shed oral epithelial cells are trapped in the plaque and crevices on the dorsum of the tongue.
· Halitosis results from the action of specific bacteria on oral debris and dental plaque. Sulfur-containing substrates are eagerly devoured by these bacteria. The bacterial breakdown of methionine and cysteine molecules yields hydrogen sulfide and methylmercaptan – both of which produce bad breath. These volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) have a “rotten egg” smell.
· The oral conditions which predispose to the production of bad breath are:
a decrease in the flow of saliva, stagnation of saliva, bacteria, an increase  protein in the diet, a decrease of carbohydrate in the diet, a rise in the oral pH to a more alkaline environment, and an increase in the number of dead  oral epithelial cells in the mouth.

 

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