Gastrointestinal (GI) causes

Gastrointestinal (GI) causes of bad breath in toddlers aren’t as common as the other causes, but they need to be considered when other GI complaints are present.

If your child has chronic bad breath as well as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or heartburn, then gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a possible culprit. In this condition, stomach acid will reflux (travel up) the esophagus, often into the throat or mouth, and in some cases, out the mouth.

Parents may be more familiar with GERD as an infant problem, but it can occur in the toddler years, too.

Infection with ,Helicobacter pylori a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach and sometimes cause unpleasant symptoms, is another disease that can cause bad breath. Usually, this occurs in combination with other obvious GI complaints, like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or burping.


H. pylori infection that causes symptoms is more common in older children and adults, but can occasionally be seen in toddlers as well.


What to do


These issues usually require treatment by a doctor. Medications are often prescribed for these condition, but your child may need further testing to determine if GERD or H. pylori is the cause of the problem.

If your child has frequent or chronic GI symptoms along with bad breath, talk to your pediatrician.Other causes of bad breath

Children who breathe through their mouth while sleeping have a higher chance of having bad breath than children who don’t mouth breathe.

Other Causes

Mouth breathing can dry the oral mucosa, leading to a decrease in the flow of saliva. This results in a release of the foul-smelling bacteria in the mouth. Also, if your toddler drinks anything besides water from a bottle or sippy cup during the night, this may worsen the problem.

There are many reasons why children breathe only through the mouth, ranging from allergy-induced nasal congestion to large adenoids blocking their airway.


What to do


Brush your child’s teeth just before bed, then give them only water (or breast milk if they’re still breastfeeding at night) until morning.

If your child is persistently breathing through their mouth, ask your doctor for help. Because there are many causes of mouth breathing, some of which require medical attention, a doctor should examine your child to rule out any serious issues