Braces can help you achieve a beautiful smile, but having them on your teeth for months, or even years, can pose certain challenges. From difficulties flossing to getting food trapped between brackets and wires, your oral hygiene routine during orthodontic treatment cannot be subpar.
If your oral care is lacking, things like bad breath can turn into a common occurrence.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, can be different for everyone but often broken down into three main categories. Bad breath is more common with braces because brackets, wires, and other orthodontic devices make it easier for tiny particles of food to get trapped. Bacteria break down these foods, and a by-product of that process is often an unpleasant smell.
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. When this type of bacteria builds up in the mouth, a foul odor can develop. Not cleaning braces regularly after eating is the top contributing factor to bad breath with braces, and it’s entirely preventable.
Sleep creates a dangerous atmosphere for your teeth, gums, and tongue due to slower saliva production. Saliva is crucial in making your mouth a balanced place because saliva helps rinse away bacteria and protect your enamel. Without enough saliva, bacteria can grow more quickly.
Chronic bad breath can stem from serious health problems that require prompt treatment. It can also be related to relatively casual factors that will improve with some home adjustments. A surprising number of people experience halitosis – about 25%, so don’t feel alone if you can’t seem to freshen your breath.
Other Causes of Halitosis
The best way to determine if you are experiencing chronic halitosis is to see your dentist regularly so they can distinguish between the former and the latter to put your mind at ease and help you come up with a treatment plan depending on the underlying cause of your bad breath.
Any of the following may be a contributing factor:
Gum Disease. The presence of other bacteria from periodontal infections leads to a bad taste and smell in the mouth.
Tooth Decay. Decay is also accompanied by additional bacterial growth that worsens breath as the tooth continues to decay.
Dry Mouth. Xerostomia is a lack of sufficient saliva production, which dries out the mouth. If your mouth does not have adequate saliva production to help wash away acids, these acids can release sulfur, leading to less-than-ideal breath. Other acids are also smelly and damaging to the mouth.
Other Infections. All of the following can intensify bad breath: pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, diabetes, acid reflux, and some liver or kidney issues.
Breath-Boosting Oral Hygiene Routines For Kids With Braces
Keep bad breath at bay by giving your oral hygiene routine a boost, especially while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
- Floss Daily – Flossing can be a challenge with braces, but it’s more important than ever to make the extra effort to floss during treatment. Incorporating a water flosser is a great way to help remove left-behind food particles without worrying about brackets and wires.
- Brush Your Tongue – Your tongue hosts a whole lot of bacteria, and giving your tongue a good scrub to rid yourself of some of those bacteria colonies is a great and simple addition to your hygiene routine.
- Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash – Make sure you’re using the correct type of mouthwash by selecting a rinse that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol-based rinses can dry out your mouth and may be linked to other health issues. An alcohol-free rinse will help to keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria and acids.
- Stay Hydrated – Drinking water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated and cleanses your mouth, all while stimulating your natural saliva production. Drinking the daily recommended amount of water each day will keep your breath and body happy and healthy.
- Using Effective Dental Products – Ask your dentist for a personal recommendation on dental tools to improve your quality of clean at your next exam. Switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush can improve the quality of your brushing if you have trouble reaching certain areas with a manual toothbrush or struggle with not brushing for long enough.
When To Seek Professional Help
If you have bad breath that won’t seem to go away after giving extra attention to your oral hygiene habits, we recommend an appointment with your dentist for a complete evaluation and exam. For more tips on keeping breath fresh with braces, ask Thomas Orthodontics at your next checkup.