The whole reason behind braces is to get a beautiful smile that you makes you proud. While the process of braces can be intensive, the results are always worthwhile. Many patients are surprised, however, to learn that bad breath is a common problem with braces. Luckily, it is both treatable and preventable with a few simple steps.
Get Regular Cleanings
We want your teeth to be straight when your braces come off, but we also want them to be white and clean, too! We stress the importance of having regular dental cleanings while you have your braces. You should be visiting your dentist every six months while you have your braces for thorough cleanings and examinations. Regular cleanings will prevent bacteria from turning into plaque and bad breath.
Many patients are guilty of only brushing their teeth twice a day after they have had their braces on for a while. If you are one of those people, we encourage you to brush your teeth in the morning, before bed, and after meals. Braces are prime ground for collecting food debris, which then turns into bacteria. The bacteria are notorious for causing bad breath, so removing any leftover food immediately after eating is critical for optimal oral health. If you do not have access to a toothbrush, vigorously rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to get your mouth as clean as possible. Use alcohol-free mouthwash to soothe any sores in the mouth from the metal braces.
A dry mouth and lack of saliva prevent the natural removal of bacteria from the mouth. Make sure you are drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day, more if you are active or it is very hot outside. If you find you are battling a dry mouth, avoid using toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate because it dries the mouth out.
Most people skip flossing, but this is a very bad decision when you have braces. Braces give food particles and bacteria many extra places to hide. Flossing effectively battles this problem, reducing the buildup of tartar, plaque, and bacteria that cause bad breath.
Not many people want to admit that their favorite, not-so-healthy foods are a direct cause of their bad breath. Fried foods, treats heavy in sugar, and sugary drinks should be avoided whenever possible. Fresh foods, especially vegetables, will give your body the vitamins and minerals needed to battle bacteria and strengthen the teeth.