While most infants tend to have just a little bad breath, it is not unusual for a baby to have severe bad breath from time to time. There is nothing more embarrassing than having someone get close to your baby to fuss over only to have them fall back in a hurry when they get a whiff of the child’s bad breath. While no one would ever think that infant bad breath is something a parent has to deal with, it does happen from time to time.
The big question for most parents that discover their infant has bad breath is why. As adults we understand what causes us to have bad breath, it can be lack of oral hygiene, eating certain foods, smoking or simply a case of morning breath. As we know what causes bad breath in adults, we also know how to get rid of it. Unfortunately most of us don’t expect this problem from our babies and as such have no idea what causes it, let alone how to get rid of it.
In reality severe infant bad breath can be caused by several different things including poor oral hygiene (yes even infants need you to keep their mouths clean), a serious illness, gastric reflux disease or even a hernia. Among the more common causes are simple morning breath, yes babies get this too or spitting up their formula or breast milk. However, as a side note if you feel that your baby is spitting up far more than normal, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of acid reflux.
A bad case of dry mouth can cause bad breath in your infant; this is often the result of your baby having a cold or stuffed up nose. Since this leads to an absence of saliva in your infant’s mouth, bacteria that would normally be destroyed by the saliva will grow; this is known as temporary halitosis and can be reduced by keeping your child well hydrated while they have a cold.
If your infant uses a pacifier, you need to keep it changed regularly. The reason behind this is that milk, formula and foodstuffs can build up on the part that goes in your child’s mouth. Exposed to continuous soaking by saliva, these substances will rot and cause a bad odor that can be transferred to your infant’s mouth and breath. By keeping several sterilized pacifiers at hand, you can keep them swapped out frequently and eliminate this cause of infant bad breath.
As you may have already noticed, babies that spit up often tend to have sour smell about them and this can also be the cause of their bad breath. If after talking to your pediatrician you find that there is no real medical cause for your infant’s bad breath, there a number of things that you can do to help reduce or eliminate the problem.
To help eliminate morning breath, you should not let your baby sleep all night with a bottle in their crib. As the milk or formula becomes stale, it will start to smell bad. When your baby drinks this milk, infant bad breath will result along with gum disease, which can serve to exacerbate the problem.
While your infant may not have any teeth, this does not mean that you should not be using a good gum cleaner to remove milk or formula deposits as well as dead cells. A gum scrubber is a soft rubber device that you use in the same way as a tooth brush to gently scrub your baby’s gums.
You can use the same tool to gently scrub your baby’s tongue after each feeding, bear in mind that their tongue is often the source of bad breath. By following these simple steps and providing your baby with a regular regimen of oral hygiene, you should be able to reduce or eliminate infant bad breath once and for all so that everyone can get in plenty of cuddle time. If after you have tried everything you can think of to eliminate your child’s bad breath it still persists, you need to talk to your pediatrician and ask them to ensure there are no medical conditions responsible for it.
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