Braces are an incredibly effective method for straightening crooked teeth and correcting misalignment issues. During orthodontic treatment, significant changes happen to your mouth, and if your hygiene habits aren’t altered to keep up with these changes, things like bad breath can take hold. Bad breath can be embarrassing and an indication that something isn’t right.
Here are six secrets for preventing bad breath while wearing braces and how to keep your shifting smile as healthy as possible throughout treatment.
Why Bad Breath Is More Likely During Orthodontic Treatment
Bacteria in the mouth is one of the leading causes of bad breath, and this can be especially true with braces. Foods are more likely to get lodged between brackets, wires, and between the teeth. These left-behind food particles then start to produce bacteria that lead to an unpleasant odor. Other likely causes of bad breath during orthodontic treatment include gum disease, poor oral hygiene, drinking, and smoking.
Secret #1: Keep Your Mouth Clean
Excellent oral hygiene is always necessary, but this is especially true when you have braces. The need for brushing twice a day in the morning and at night and after a meal is crucial in keeping bad breath at bay during orthodontic treatment. Additionally, flossing once a day is another vital piece of maintaining great hygiene. Flossing with braces can be a challenge, so we recommend using a threader to floss your teeth or use a water flosser to help remove particles from small spaces where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Secret #2: Use Antibacterial Mouthwash Daily
Incorporating an antibacterial mouthwash is a great way to avoid bad breath during treatment. After you brush and floss, swish around a mouthful of mouthwash to help kill germs and bacteria that can lead to bad breath. Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride to help remineralize soft spots and avoid mouthwashes with drying ingredients like alcohol that can make bad breath worse.
Secret #3: Drink Water Often
A dry mouth that lacks natural saliva production can be an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Dehydration only increases the chances of bad breath, so keep your body hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Not only will this help with natural saliva production, but it will also keep your mouth clean and free of bacterial growth.
Secret #4: Avoid Stinky Foods
Foods with strong-smelling ingredients like garlic and onions are sure to create bad breath. Choosing the right foods to eat with braces is imperative to your oral health. Always avoid sugary and sticky foods where possible that may lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
Secret #5: Keep Breath Mints Handy
Breath mints are a quick and easy way to give your breath a temporary boost after meals. Mints are also a great way to increase saliva production. While chewing mint gum may be tempting, gum can easily stick to braces, so it’s best to avoid it.
Secret #6: See Your Dentist and Orthodontist Regularly
When you see your dentist and orthodontist regularly during treatment, both providers can help to determine the cause of any bad breath you’re experiencing. Routine dental exams allow your dentist to spot any underlying oral health issues before they become more severe. Not only can this help with avoiding potential pain and discomfort, but it can also prevent bad breath from occurring.
If you or your child with braces is suffering from bad breath, let Thomas Orthodontics know at your next appointment so we can assist you with coming up with a solution.