One of the unfortunate truths about having braces is that they can cause bad breath. Children and adults who wear braces are more prone to having bad breath because of the bacteria that grows from any food remnants left in your teeth that can get trapped by braces.
Bad Breath and Invisalign
Patients receiving orthodontic treatment with Invisalign face the same problem. Food remnants and moisture that get caught between teeth and aligners pose the same risk of harboring foul-smelling bacteria.If you’re not regularly brushing your teeth after eating, you are just helping to grow the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Brush Regularly to Avoid Braces and Bad Breath
Brush your teeth regularly after each meal and snack. Since most of us are always on the go, it’s helpful to carry a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in your backpack or purse. If you’re not able to access a toothbrush and brush as soon as you finish your meal, thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water can help remove some of the leftover food. However, it is still important that you brush your teeth as soon as you can.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Tongue
While most braces wearers never forget a tooth as they’re brushing, often one very important hiding spot for bacteria gets forgotten: your tongue. When brushing your teeth, be sure to thoroughly brush your tongue. It is especially helpful to try different tools like a tongue scraper, which can help keep your tongue clean and your breath fresh.
Flossing Helps with Bad Breath
While regular brushing can stave off some bacteria, there are some places in your mouth where bacteria may be lurking that a toothbrush is unable to reach. That’s why regular flossing is also important. Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria build-up from those hard-to-reach places in between teeth. Flossing with braces can pose its own set of challenges. You may want to try a floss threader at least when you first get your braces to help get the floss between the wires and your teeth. A WaterPik is also great at reaching those tight places, but it should not replace traditional flossing.
Wash and Chew Away Bacteria
Regularly using mouthwash helps to prevent bad breath. Mouthwash can also help keep your smile healthy when you use rinse specifically formulated to defend against cavities. Chewing gum is another way to keep your breath fresh throughout the day. It’s important to only chew sugar-free gum or mints. Most gum has a surprising amount of sugar, which actually feeds bad-breath bacteria and can also lead to tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help stimulate blood flow around your gums which can help relieve the discomfort some braces and aligner wearers face within the first few days of treatment.
Schedule regular dentist appointments while wearing braces or Invisalign to receive teeth cleanings. These regular cleanings are important to eliminate oral bacteria and also ensure the same bacteria that causes bad breath doesn’t also cause tooth decay.
While there are some parts of wearing braces that can stink sometimes, your breath doesn’t have to be one of them! Strong oral hygiene habits are key to maintaining a healthy smile as well as staving off bad breath.