Bad Breath With Braces? Tips to Keep Fresh Breath
By Dr. Dustin Coles – Premier Orthodontics
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Here’s the thing about braces – sometimes they stink.
I know that may sound harsh coming from an orthodontist; but it’s true.
The good news is that it’s not the actual braces that smell bad…
…and with a few simple tricks and tips you can avoid bad breath completely for as long as you have braces. We’ll outline all the exact steps you need to take below.
What Causes Bad Breath With Braces?
It’s not the braces that smell bad — it’s the bacteria in your mouth.
One of the common problems people face while wearing braces is getting food trapped in their braces. If food particles get left in your teeth, they quickly become a source of food for bacteria…
…and when bacteria build up in your mouth, you start to notice a not so pleasant odor..
Tricks and Tips to Avoid Bad Breath With BracesThe good news about bad breath with braces is that it’s 100% preventable! With the help of a few tips and tricks (plus some good oral hygiene habits) you can keep your breath smelling fresh with braces.
#1 – Brush After EVERY Meal And Snack to Avoid Bad Breath With BracesThe average person that’s not wearing braces can usually get away with brushing twice a day; but this doesn’t work with braces. Taking care of braces is going to take a little more time and attention. With braces, food will get stuck in your teeth every time that you eat—whether it’s a small snack or a full meal. There’s really no avoiding it.
To avoid bad breath with braces, you need to brush your teeth after every time you consume food…
This may sound like a lot, but once you get in the habit of brushing after eating, the action becomes second nature. Keeping a travel toothbrush in your backpack or purse is a great way to make sure you can brush no matter where you are.
If you have absolutely no access to a toothbrush at the time of eating, the next best option is to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. This will help remove some of the food particles—but you should still brush your teeth at your next opportunity!
Need some extra help learning how to brush with braces? Check out our video below that gives you more detailed information.
#2 – Avoid Bad Breath With Braces By Flossing Your Teeth At Least Once a DayWhile brushing is very important, you will need to floss as well to avoid bad breath with braces. Flossing at least one time per day is necessary to help keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid foul-smelling bacteria that can’t be reached by brushing alone. Flossing with braces can be a challenge, but using some tools like a Waterpik, Platypus Ortho Flosser, or Harp Flosser can help make flossing with braces easier.
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#3 – Use Mouthwash For Better Breath and Cleaner TeethRoutinely using mouthwash will not only help freshen your breath in the short term – it will also help your teeth stay healthy in the long term!
#4 – Try Xylitol Breath Mints & Gum to Freshen Your Breath With BracesMost breath mints contain sugar… …and while they may help your breath in the short term, these sugary mints are actually feeding the bacteria in your mouth which cause more bad breath later. (Plus they can increase your risk for cavities) The best option for breath mints is a Xylitol breath mint. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that actually stops the growth of bacteria in your mouth. These great-tasting mints will help reduce bad breath with braces while at the same time reducing your risk for cavities!
You can also check out Xylitol chewing gum which helps prevent bad breath with braces and fights bacteria – just like the mints.
#5 – Schedule Regular Dental Appointments While You’re In Braces
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are a must for anybody wearing braces. Those with braces should get a checkup with their dentist (not their orthodontist) every 6 months, at a minimum.
Why are dental checkups so important (especially when you’re already having to meet with an orthodontist)?
The orthodontist’s job is to adjust and tighten your braces. Generally, the orthodontist doesn’t perform cleanings or take x-rays to watch for cavities. This is why seeing your dentist is so important and needs to be done at least twice a year.
For some individuals with braces, the dentist or orthodontist may recommend cleanings at a 3-4 month interval to help prevent cavities and gum disease.
There’s no reason that you have to live with bad breath while you have braces. With the tips above you can rest assured your breath will stay fresh night and day — and your mouth will stay healthy during your entire treatment.
Not only will these tips help you avoid bad breath with braces, they will also continue benefiting you after your braces are removed.
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