Why does my son’s breath smell like feces?

Yeah, pretty gross title, right!?

Well, on Sunday evening I found myself typing that same question into Google (and every other search engine) trying desperately to come up with an answer. Yes, my son’s breath, did indeed, smell like POOP!

It started Sunday morning. My boys were playing in their room before we headed off to church. I walked in their room and was blown away by the awful smell. “Did one of you poop your pants!?” They both laughed and said no, which didn’t surprise me since they’ve both been potty trained for years. I pulled all the sheets off their beds and put them in the washing machine and I sent the boys to the bath for a scrub down before church. It was after their bath, and while we were sitting in church that we realized the smell was coming from Sam’s mouth! Yes, his breath was so foul it made his whole room stink.

Google was absolutely no help. Most of the answers were about oral hygiene, which is maybe what I would have thought too, but I’m married to a dentist and I know they have great oral hygiene thanks to him.

The other suggestions were that he eats his own poop. Thanks Google.

Yesterday I took him to the pediatrician. They first swabbed his throat because sometimes strep can cause bad breath. After the doctor checked Sam out he informed me that the awful, putrid, poop smell was not coming from his mouth, but from his nose. Sam had a foreign object stuck up his freaking nose! The doc then pulled a huge, slimy, disgusting cotton ball out of Sam’s right nostril. Lovely.

So I am writing this post as a public service to those with curious, mischievous toddlers. Maybe you are searching Google, as I did, wondering why your sweet child’s breath smells like a heaping pile of dung. Well, here is one possible answer; they might have a foreign object stuck way up in the depths of their nose.

Of course, I am not a doctor. There are a few other things that could be wrong with your child, most of which seemed pretty justified in a visit to the pediatrician.

Or they could just be eating their feces. Good luck.

Does your toddlers breath smell awful? This happened to me and I was surprised at the reason!

Looking for ways to keep your kids noses clear? Here are some of our “keep your nose” clean products:

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Looking for more ideas to keep your breath fresh? Click the photos below:

how to brush your teeth the right way

5 things you can do right now to improve your oral health


  • April 16, 2013 - 8:28 am

    Becky - That happened to me last summer! The only difference was that we spent weeks trying to figure out where the smell was coming from! The night I got the flash light to look at his throat to see if it looked like he might have some type of infection, I also happened to look up his nose, and there it was…the wadded up gum wrapper! Where do you shove the gum wrapper before mom comes in and finds that you are eating gum when you know she will make you spit it out? Apparently up the nose.ReplyCancel

  • April 16, 2013 - 8:58 am

    Cassia - Oh my gosh! That is the craziest thing ever!! I can’t believe that’s what would cause such a smell. Note to self. 🙂 lolReplyCancel

  • April 16, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    kelsey - Oh my gosh! So disgusting! Yet, so hilarious.ReplyCancel

  • May 22, 2013 - 10:40 am

    sharon - This also happened to a friend of mine when her son was 3 years old. She found out that he had candida yeast in his system. She had a candida problem when he was born and he was born with thrush. If a person has candida you have to watch your food. Sugar and simple carbs create an environment that candida yeast loves. You can check with a naturopath or also check your health food store for a candida/parasite cleanse for him.
    If you check out http://www.clarkia.biz they have a lot to pick
    from for a cleanse also.ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2013 - 5:33 pm

    Amber - OMG.! Your post was such a HUGE help for our son.!!! We also had the same problem with our 2 year old son just this past week. This horrible poop smell we figured his breath really stinks lol. We brushed his teeth 4x a days and still would smell it!! As of today i actually tried to search for answers and thats when i came cross this post. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED to our son. I finally looked up his nose real careful and seen a bushy like object blocking his left nostil ..pulled it out and discovered a sponge like object.!!! I was sooooooo shocked.!!!!!!!! Lol i would like to thank you for this post!!!! Very helpful THANK YOU!!ReplyCancel

  • June 17, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Melissa Hadfield - Haha Amber! I’m so glad I could help. It was shocking for me too! I never would have thought that smell could come from a foreign object. Glad you don’t have to smell it any more. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • June 26, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    Jimster - Tonsil stones or tonsiliaths smell like crap, but never heard of them in childrenReplyCancel

  • July 30, 2013 - 12:51 pm

    Becca - Tonsil stones?ReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2013 - 6:15 pm

    JD Belanger - I am smelling it to. I kiss kid to school a i hear arhh smell poop.
    I had 9 theeth pull out 7 days ago. A molar theeth was past my sinuses so i have a hole that hills allright but i smell at least 4 diferent smell of poop.

    When we eat it smell
    Good food then after a bacteria in us adds the said smell. Now it is my throat and in my nose. It. Is wors when lyinghdown and when i sit. I do not whish this to any one i hope that it will not last long.
    Did anyone ever identified that bacteria ? If so what’s her name being feminine.Lol.

    Sad DadReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2013 - 7:10 pm

    JD Belanger - Gut news about bad smell from nose and oo t from the mouth for me at leeast.
    Listen to this, the Dentist said not to blow my nose so that i don’t bust the wound that is getting better. So here it is i blew my nose properly after 7 days and found a klinex like thing came out , then i felt better a it was the first time in 13years thay i snore and that thing was blocking.

    Good luck and find peace
    Breathing DadReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2013 - 7:15 pm

    JD Belanger - Excuse my spelling but it is not the issue here i speak 2 languages i couldn’t be perfect you know.ReplyCancel

  • October 15, 2013 - 2:52 pm

    becki - I honestly cannot thank you enough! my son has had this awful poop breath for about 2 weeks and we were putting it down to the fact he has had croup/flu (he always has a putrid smell when he is poorly).
    well tonight i couldn’t stand to give him a hug it was so bad and decided to have a look online and see if there were any suggestions. We ended up pulling out a huge chunk of mattress filing that he had shoved up there, the smell left him almost instantly and i can give my little on a hug again!!! thank you so much xxReplyCancel

    • October 15, 2013 - 4:48 pm

      Melissa Hadfield - Becki, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I am so happy I could help out! It’s seriously why I wrote this post. I knew I couldn’t be alone!! 🙂 I’m glad you can snuggle your little guy again.ReplyCancel

  • October 28, 2013 - 10:42 am

    Bethany - Omgoodness! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you posting this! Better than any doctor out there! My son is four. He has had a cold since the beginning of October. I noticed this yucky smell coming from, what I thought, was his breath. I immediately thought he had a sinus infection and brought him to the docs a week ago today. He was put on antibiotics. I noticed he didn’t seem to be getting better and the ‘smell’ was worsening. So much so, that my husband and I had to drive with the windows down and its cold here in Canada now!
    I decided that in the morning (today) that I would definitely take him back to the docs. But I decided to research it one more time and came across your post.
    Sure enough, I asked him this morning , if perhaps he may have put something up his nose. I promised him I wouldn’t be mad if he told me. He didn’t say a word! I explained to him that it was very important that he tell me the truth. He preceded to tell me that he stuck a pom pom up his nose! (Those little ones kids use for crafts)
    Upon inspection, I never would have known anything was up his nose as the pom pom was orange and covered in…well, you know…yuck!
    As you had said, the smell was instantly gone as soon as i removed it! Boy was that fun 😉
    All i can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. I bow to you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    We can all breathe a lot easier around here now 🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 18, 2013 - 10:17 pm

    suada - I have the same problem with my son. His mouth started smelling like poop 2 weeks ago. At first I thought it was his breath because he hates getting his teeth brushed. And I looked in his mouth and up his nose but I didn’t see anything. I’m bringing him to the doctor tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • November 18, 2013 - 10:45 pm

    suada - Omg!!!!! Right after posting my previous post I decided to look in his nose again and I saw something black..it looked like a round chocalate cereal.. I got my husband to hold my son and I got my tweezers and omggggg I pulled out a long peice of fabric.. it was the fabric that his nabi tablet was wrapped in..we couldn’t believe our eyes.. we never suspected him to put something in his nose. .but your post helped a lot ..thanxReplyCancel

    • November 19, 2013 - 9:37 am

      Cassia Denton - So glad you got it figured out!!! Crazy stuff.ReplyCancel

  • December 12, 2013 - 6:33 pm

    Jessica - Thank you, thank you, thank you!! A week ago my 2 year old shoved a piece of chair foam up her nose. I thought I got it all out. This whole week she has stunk sooo bad. Baths, brushing teeth over & over & nothing helped. Just googled smelly drool & found you!! Took a flashlight & tweezers and found she still had a big chunk up there. Its out, smell went away instantly & now she is peacefully in bed!! Mom to mom, thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • December 13, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    matt - same thing to my 5 year old son. he had a tonsillolith (tonsil stones). got it removed today, size of a pea, and no more bad breath. easy procedure to remove. advice from gp is alcohol free mouth wash to clean the tonsils and prevent it from re-occurring.ReplyCancel

  • December 27, 2013 - 10:16 pm

    cindy - I am so grateful that I read your blog. My 2 year old daughter had been having foul breath for quite some time. I was thinking it was her tonsils. Then I was thinking it was possibly something much worse. When I read your blog I immediately looked up her nose and there was something there. A quick trip to the ER and a 1/2 wad of something was pulled out. OMG…..talk about gross. Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    Melanie - Hahahahahaha Oh my goodness, thanks for the laugh. Luckily my kids never stuffed things up their nose, so I can only imagine…ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    JK - Thank you so much for this post. I’m sure this little effort saved a thousand moms. I suspect the same for my 2 year old son but I’m too scared to insert tweezers into his tiny nose. Any suggestion of how I can inspect and get it done. He doesn’t allow me to check also. But thanks again for guiding me in the right path. love to your kids.ReplyCancel

  • June 26, 2014 - 5:26 pm

    arien - Fyi.. just because he is a dentist doesn’t mean he is right. It may very well be tonsil stones that is making the kid’s breath stink. Surprisingly many dentists don’t even know what it is. I described the foul smelling stone to my dentist and he was perplexed. I had to search the internet to find out what it is. My 3 yr old has it, I have it, but the ways to rid them are only for adults or teenagers (nasal spray, special mouthwash). So I have to deal with his stinky poop breath until he can manage the mouthwash. Can’t really brush his tongue, as he pulls it back thus I am only able to clean half if I’m lucky. This doesn’t mean you have bad oral hygiene, this is what your tonsils are supposed to do, collect bacteria preventing it from entering your body.ReplyCancel

  • July 6, 2014 - 8:29 pm

    Diane - My foster sons breath smelled like poop. I took him to the doctor and after an examination she said that he was constipated and that was backing up and causing his breath to stink. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but started giving him the special powder in his juice in the morning and once he was “regular” his breath quit stinking.ReplyCancel

    • July 24, 2014 - 8:26 pm

      Sonya - Diane…I’m wondering if that’s why my 8yr old son breath stinks too…hmm need to investigate and find out…he even knows his breath is bad 🙁ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2014 - 8:24 pm

    Kristyn - Thank you so much for this blog. Today I noticed my daughters what I thought was her breath to smell like poop. I have also noticed she has been sneezing a lot for about 5 days. Same as you all the blogs I came across all said its an infection or constipation. But she is not sick or constipated. Once I saw it was the nose I immediately (woke her outta bed) and sure enough it was her nose, and sure enough I can see so etching in her nose. Off to emerge she goes! Thanks so much!! I am glad I stumble upon your blog!ReplyCancel

    • August 12, 2014 - 9:24 pm

      Camille Walker - So glad you found it helpful. We love that you stopped by! Please stick around!ReplyCancel

  • January 11, 2015 - 9:56 pm

    Casey Alexander - Oh. My. Goodness. Laughing so hard I’m crying. And now I will be calling the doctor to make an appointment tomorrow.ReplyCancel

    • January 13, 2015 - 11:42 pm

      Janae - hahaha Seriously! You wouldn’t believe how many people have read this post and realized that it was right! Good luck 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 11, 2015 - 4:27 pm

    Patrick - Thank you Melissa. You are fantastic. We have been having this smell from our 4 year old daughters mouth for about a month now. She constantly chews on her finger nails. We thought she stuck poppy fingers in there. We were constantly washing and fighting the hands in the mouth habit. Brushing her teeth ferociously. Nothing was working.
    Stumbled across your article and used a light to look up her nostrils and there was something definitely in there. Then it dawned on us she has been sniffling a lot lately like a cold. But never actually had a cold.
    We had her lay down we we able to pull it out gently with tweezers. She was super brave and she feels so much better. It was definitely the source of the stench. Thank you. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • October 16, 2015 - 3:26 pm

      Melissa Hadfield - I’m SO glad I was able to help, that is why I wrote this article. I knew I couldn’t be the only one that this would happen to! I’m glad you could clear her nose and get rid of the smell! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • December 5, 2015 - 11:52 am

    Jasmin - Thanks for the post. My daughter had the same thing sure enough i found your post and in her nose was a sponge foam piece. Taking her to the pediatrician just incase it got infected.ReplyCancel

  • December 25, 2015 - 7:07 pm

    Paris - Waaay back in 1980. My sister noticed that my 3 year old niece stank! She had no clue as to why, She just knew that there was a problem. My niece, was a mouth breather and a drooler. My sister thought three went together and knew she had to get her checked out. Off to the doctor they went and up her nose he looked and there was TONS of red blanket fuzz up there. He pulled it out and no more smell or drool. She still is a mouth breather tho.ReplyCancel

  • June 7, 2016 - 9:26 pm

    Danelle - I had a friend whose son had this exact problem. And then in the comments I noticed someone said their son had shoved mattress filling up his nose. This is exactly what happened to my friend! Her son’s nose was running during the night and he didn’t want to get up and wipe it, so he just shoved some mattress filling up his nose and forgot about it. And he was in 3rd or 4th grade! It was so bad, it made the doctor gag when he pulled it out!ReplyCancel

  • July 15, 2016 - 9:34 am

    Jennifer - I have been googling this issue all morning. After reading this, I quickly dismissed the advice because surely I would know if my 3 year old had something up his nose. I check him over every night during the bedtime routine. Whatever…. I decided to look anyway. I could barely see what look liked a wad of sick snot in the back of his nose. I immediately thought he had sinus issues. I had him blow but nothing came out. I got tweezers and found out it wasn’t snot. It was, in fact, a wad of paper. A rather large wad of paper that seems to have been there a while. Wow… I’m speechless. Thank you for this post!! I never would have thought this would be our problem. My 3 year old was so happy to have it out.ReplyCancel

    • July 15, 2016 - 11:31 am

      Camille Walker - We are so happy this helped you! Please share it on facebook to help other mothers too!ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2017 - 12:05 pm

    Victoria Ramos - Thank you soooo much! I was beyond exasperated trying to figure out what was making my 3yr Olds breath stink so bad! Read your post and immediately went and got a flashlight and tweezers just in case. Yup! Sure enough there was memory foam up there! You are a life saver!!! MANY THANKS!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2017 - 3:36 pm

    Roberta - This blog saved my sanity. For the past couple of days my son’s breath smelled like feces. I searched google and looked up why a toddlers breath would smell like that. Some said they could be lactose intolerant and to cut back on milk. Others suggested getting a tongue cleaner. Others said maybe the child has a sinus infection. Then I read your blog but dismissed it at first. So while I was inspecting his mouth I noticed the smell was actually coming from his nose! I checked and sure enough there was something up there. Pulled out what looked like a huge piece of cotton. And it smelled horrible! I’m so grateful for coming across this blog. Thank you!ReplyCancel

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