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Although bad breath is more common in adults due to poor oral hygiene, it can also happen in babies, being caused by various problems ranging from eating to dry mouth or respiratory infections, for example.
However, poor hygiene is also a major cause of bad breath because, even if they don't have teeth yet, babies can develop the same bacteria that adults develop on their teeth, but on their tongue, cheeks and gums.
Thus, the best way to eliminate bad breath in the baby is to perform proper oral hygiene and, if it does not improve, it is advisable to consult the pediatrician to identify if there is any he alth problem, starting the appropriate treatment if it is required.See how to do the baby's oral hygiene the right way.
Some of the most common causes of bad breath in babies include:
1. Dry mouth
Babies are more likely to sleep with their mouths slightly open, so their mouths are easily dry from frequent airflow.
That way, drops of milk and food leftovers can dry out and leave sugars stuck to the gums, allowing the development of bacteria and fungi, which in addition to causing mouth sores, cause bad breath.
What to do: adequate oral hygiene should be maintained, especially after breastfeeding or feeding the baby, thus preventing the accumulation of drops of milk that can dry out when the baby has an open mouth. Another simple way to alleviate the problem is to offer the baby some water after milk.
2. Poor oral hygiene
Although teeth only begin to appear around 6 or 8 months of age, the truth is that oral hygiene should be carried out from birth, because even if there are no teeth, bacteria can deposit themselves inside. baby's mouth, causing bad breath and oral problems, such as thrush or cavities.
What to do: you should clean the baby's mouth with a damp cloth or gauze, at least twice a day, until the first teeth appear. After teething, it is recommended to use a soft brush and age-appropriate toothpaste.
3. Using inappropriate toothpaste
In some cases, bad breath can arise even when you are doing the proper hygiene, and this can happen because you are not using the proper paste.
Generally, baby pastes should not contain any type of chemical, however, some may contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a substance that is used to create foam and that can lead to dryness of the mouth and to the appearance of small wounds.Thus, this type of paste can often facilitate the development of bacteria and, consequently, bad breath.
What to do: avoid using toothpastes that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in their composition, giving preference to neutral toothpastes that produce little foam.
4. Eating strong-smelling foods
Bad breath can still arise when you start introducing new foods to your baby, especially when using garlic or onions to prepare some baby food. This happens because, as in adults, these foods leave an intense smell in the mouth, making the breath worse.
What to do: avoid using this type of food frequently when preparing baby's meals and always perform proper oral hygiene after meals.
5. Respiratory and throat infections
Respiratory and throat infections, such as sinusitis or tonsillitis, although they are a rarer cause, can also cause the development of bad breath that is usually associated with other symptoms such as a runny nose, cough or fever, for example.
What to do: if an infection is suspected or if the bad breath does not disappear after proper hygiene of the baby's mouth, it is recommended to go to the pediatrician to identify the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.
When to go to the pediatrician
It is recommended to go to the pediatrician when the baby presents:
- Fever above 38ºC;
- Appearance of white plaques in the mouth;
- Bleeding gum;
- Loss of appetite;
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
In these cases, the baby may be developing an infection, so the pediatrician may prescribe an antibiotic to clear the infection and other medications to relieve symptoms.