Halitosis originates from the Latin word “halitus,” which means breath, and the Greek suffix osis refers to a condition or pathologic process. This prevalent disorder, also referred to as bad breath, used to explain the unpleasant breath emitted from the mouth of either oral or nonoral origin that seems unpleasant or offensive to others.
Being an apparently common phenomenon, it is governed by intrinsic (oral and extraoral) and extrinsic etiological factors wherein oral causes account for approximately 90% of halitosis cases, while the extraoral causes to 10% of the reported cases, which may be a reflection of underlying systemic pathologies too at times. The prevalence of oral microbiological factors like dental abscess, dry mouth and nasal-associated factors, such as postnasal drip, , sinusitis, tonsillitis, allergies, and gastro-intestinal diseases like parasitic infection and gastric reflux commonly encountered in children are some of the etiological factors considered to be responsible for halitosis in them. Associated Risk Factors for Halitosis in Children include mouth breathing habit, dental caries, gingival and periodontal diseases, poor oral hygiene, fissured tongue, tongue coating and orthodontic appliances.
The identification of oral halitosis in younger children may be limited unless attention is paid and recognized by the caregivers. Further, the influence of halitosis on the social and personal aspects of life, self–confidence, self-esteem, and personality buildup, which are crucial in the developing age of the child could be disturbed avoiding bullying of other children.
Management of Halitosis in Children
Identification of the presence of halitosis, followed by the type and its severity allows for an effective management protocol. Addressing underlying evident pathology for halitosis follows the next step. Nonsurgical periodontal therapy comprising scaling, restoration of decayed teeth, and periodontal and pharmacological treatment as advised based on the oral examination findings is recommended by the practitioners. This would also aid in the reduction of the oral microbial load responsible for halitosis. In children with mouth breathing, identification of the possible etiological factors such as adenoid hypertrophy would aid in addressing the related halitosis. improving oral hygiene and controlling gingival diseases in caries-active children, a reduction of halitosis was noted.
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