Why don't babies have bad breath?

Thinking of the passage from John Irving’s “The World According to Garp” where Garp recalls his son’s breath turning sour, I noted recently, for the first time, that my 8 year old niece now has bad breath (or at least the capacity for it), whereas she never had it before.

Why don’t young children have halitosis, no matter what they eat? With the amounts of sugar many young children consume, it would seem logical that bacteria would thrive in their mouths.

What causes us to get stinky breath later and what prevents us from having it for so many years? Do we have to go through years of eating foods and nurturing bacteria in our mouths before they finally take over until the day we die? Is there some way of safely eliminating this bacteria and returning us to a pre-halitosis bearing state?

Young children haven’t had the time to develop anything seriously rotten in their mouths. Also your best defence against bacteria and halitosis is saliva.

Babies are rarely short of spit.

Babies and children do have bad breath. How frequently, I have no idea.
mangeorge (Two children, five grandchildren)

I beg to differ. My darling 6-week-old daughter burped in my face the other day…and whoooooo…she is fed mostly breast milk, with 1/4 to 1/2 formula to insure proper quantity. Normally though, her breath is fine, or at least I never noticed.

Have you ever smelled puppy breath? How sweet it is!

Maybe it has to do with not having any teeth?

My daughter had horrible breath as a baby. Even now at 3 her morning breath can knock you over!

Babies can have bad (sour) breath.

Maybe it’s because we’re used to smelling their sweetly-scented heads, and the proximity to the mouth gives it a free ride.

I love puppy breath. Why does it go away?

As for babies and children, I can’t remember.

Baby Altoids!

My mom is a teacher, and she’s taught kids in the age ranges of 5-8 or so. I seem to remember her saying that while certain foods can cause “immediate” bad breath, a child with chronic halitosis usually has something wrong with them (like a stomach illness or something).

I might be misremembering, though. It’s not a common topic of conversation!

Our dog’s breath used to smell like toast. Now it just smells like dog :frowning:

We’re hoping that our next dogs have breath like freshly baked bread or coffee beans so that we can hire them out to people who are trying to sell their houses.