7 Causes of Infant & Baby Bad Breath & Treatments

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Does your infant or baby have bad breath?

You are not alone. It happens. Just like the rest of us. Just because babies are super precious doesn’t immune them from stinky breath. Baby bad breath is a real thing.

Learn what the possible causes could be and how to help your infants bad breath.

Why does my baby have bad breath?

Here are some possible causes of bad breath in infants:

  1. Smelly food
  2. Poor oral hygiene
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Allergies and sinus issues
  5. Dental disease
  6. Acid reflux
  7. Bacteria from objects

1) Smelly Food

Like everyone else, the foods babies consume can linger through their mouths and bodies. Garlic, asparagus, curry and so on. Those foods and many others can cause bad breath in infants and babies.

2) Poor Oral Hygiene

One thing infants and babies can’t do well is clean their mouths themselves. For instance, if we consume a food and it goes between the teeth or up in the vestibule (the area between the teeth, lips and cheek), we can easily clean in out by moving our tongue around to push food off. Or even better, by brushing or flossing.

Well a baby can’t really do that themselves. Food stuck in their mouths can really cause a snitch.

Be sure to clean your babies mouth thoroughly every morning and night and after each meal. If they do not have teeth, wipe and massage their gums with a soft, clean cloth.

Start flossing nightly as soon as the first teeth erupt. Once they erupt teeth, use a soft toothbrush after each feeding.

Check babies vestibule for leftover food and make sure to wipe out well and keep gums clean.

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3)Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be due to a few things. It can be due to the baby breathing through their mouth. Or like my children, they could be breathing through their mouth because they are so congested.

My children stayed congested as infants. If this is the case with you, be sure to follow up with your pediatrician to get their recommendation. I always used a humidifier which helped greatly!

When they were old enough, they would get Children’s Benadryl which helped dry up the congestion and free up their ability to breathe through their nose. Of course, check with your pediatrician.

4) Allergies & Sinus Issues

Bad breath in babies sickness or allergies :

Allergies and sinus issues can likely cause smelly drainage. This can be a definite cause of infant bad breath as well as in anyone else.

Sinus drainage can be a terrible smell. Take your child to their pediatrician as they may need some medication to help combat the infection.

5) Dental disease in infants

Cavities, infection and gingivitis can cause smelly bad breath in infants as well. Be sure to take your little one to the see the dentist at least every 6 months starting as soon as their first tooth erupts. If you notice any issues before their next appointment is due, you should make an appointment to see the dentist for an exam and express your concerns.

6)Acid reflux infants

Oftentimes, infants can get acid reflux or GERDS. This can cause infant breath to smell and should be looked at by their pediatrician. They can often evaluate and prescribe a good diet and proper medication to get reflux under control. This is very important to resolve because acid reflux can cause many other issues such as tooth erosion.

7) Bacteria from objects

Baby bad breath teething :

Babies love to put things in their mouth. Their thumbs, teething toys, blankets. You name it. These things can grow bacteria at a fast rate especially after being soaked in saliva. A major cause of baby bad breath is teething. Dried saliva is a breeding grounds for smelly bacteria.

Keep all teething toys sanitized and clean. Be sure to wash babies hands and clean babies mouth often to keep bacteria counts at bay.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

bad breath baby
bad breath child
bad breath child

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

23 thoughts on “7 Causes of Infant & Baby Bad Breath & Treatments

  1. Reply
    Janet Elaine Rose - June 15, 2019

    Thanks for sharing this. I can remember sometimes when my children were sick, they had funny breath. It is always good to have helpful information. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reply
    Itzel - June 15, 2019

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve been a nanny for years and I always look to improve my knowledge of what happens to children and babies and why. It’s nice to be informed.

  3. Reply
    Juli - June 15, 2019

    That’s alarming that at such a young age they can suffer from it.

  4. Reply
    Neil Alvin - June 15, 2019

    And don’t forget sometimes yeast grow in their mouths.

  5. Reply
    Oscar - June 15, 2019

    Thank you for this great article and informative post. Im gonna share with mommies out there!

    1. Reply
      Elizabeth O - June 18, 2019

      This is one of the reasons why we should visit our pediatrician regularly. Especially when it concerns our kids health.

    2. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Thank you!!

  6. Reply
    siennylovesdrawing - June 16, 2019

    ohh my…thanks for this awesome sharing, gonna be useful for new mums especially ? Cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      You’re welcome! Anything to make new mom life easier!

  7. Reply
    aisasami - June 16, 2019

    Great advice for something important that I never thought about before. I am sure moms would be happy to hear about how to solve the problem of babies’ bad breath.

  8. Reply
    Hackytips - June 16, 2019

    Ah! Very useful for new mommies ?

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Thank you! Anything to make their life easier!

  9. Reply
    Vaishali - June 16, 2019

    thanks for sharing, though I am past this stage but it is helpful information

  10. Reply
    Ashli Ferguson - June 16, 2019

    I think a lot of new moms would find this really helpfu!!! Great post!

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Thank you!!

  11. Reply
    Amaresh Jha - June 17, 2019


    Enjoyed reading this guide. There are anythings which are important for me. Even many of things are unknown for me. This guide is really helpful for me.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks & Regards
    Amaresh Jha
    Motivational Speaker In India

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

  12. Reply
    blair villanueva - June 18, 2019

    I haven’t encountered a baby with a bad breath. But maybe its because of bacteria. Better the doctor to check.

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Yes if you have any concerns I would definitely visit the dentist as soon as possible.

  13. Reply
    Barefoot Hippie - June 18, 2019

    Yes, people don’t really realize but babies can have bad breath too! Mine always did when they drank formula!

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Yes! Glad to be able to answer some questions!

  14. Reply
    flo - June 18, 2019

    I’m going to have to save this post for when I have one of my own. Super informative, thank you!

    1. Reply
      Kelly - July 7, 2019

      Thank you!!

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