Bad breath and braces | 5 ways to avoid it

No one likes to talk about it and it’s something that everyone wants to avoid.

Bad breath

The truth is that wearing braces can increase your chances of having bad breath.  The reason for this is that there are more places for food particles to get trapped. In my experience, having braces fitted to the back of my teeth, with my tongue in constant contact can quickly make my mouth seem quite dry. Dehydration and left over, trapped food can cause problems with smelly breath. To help totally avoid the dreaded stink while you are having orthodontic treatment, follow my 5 tips:

  1. Stay on top of your dental health- A good dental health routine is important even if you aren’t wearing braces but for the time that you are, sticking to it is absolutely essential. When your braces were first fitted, your orthodontist probably ran through some ways that you should be using your tooth brush. I have found that you have to be much more thorough and really get in between all of the gaps and brackets. Floss is way more difficult to use when you have braces. To be honest, I don’t always do it but on the whole, orthodontists and dentists recommend using it so just try and work with it!  With lingual braces, you should spend quite a lot of time cleaning the BACK of your teeth. Don’t forget that teeth have 5 sides, so paying attention to all of these as well as your tongue and gums ( be gentle) is essential.

2. Carry a travel kit- Carrying a travel sized toothbrush, paste, mini mouth wash, if you are a new brace wearer- ortho wax and floss is a really good idea. With a travel kit in your bag, you never have to worry about getting caught short after a meal or worrying about lingering bad breath when you’re out.

3. Drink lots of water- Have you ever had dry mouth or know that pang of worry when your mouth starts to taste weird and you’re in mid-conversation? I can tell you that this feeling is increased by 100% when you have braces! Aside from the obvious reasons, drinking lots of water will help wash away in unwanted food particles and stay hydrated, thus helping to avoid bad breath. In 2010, a report from The EU Food Safety Authority suggested that the minimum levels of water we should all be drinking is 2 litres for men and 1.6 litres for women. It’s good for your skin, your brain and your mouth so just grab yourself a bottle and try to carry water around with you when you can.

4. Avoid sticky, moderate sugary and don’t eat smelly foods when you’re about to head out- This is a no brainer for anyone, even without braces. Eat delicious onions, garlic and strong cheese to your hearts content… but remember that they can linger on the breath so not always best eaten before a meeting or night out. The stuff to moderate is sugar. Frequent contact with sugary drinks and food can and will cause tooth decay which is bad in itself and poor dental health can contribute to bad breath. Although I have been found guilty of continuing to chew chewing gum with my braces on :/ , sticky stuff will get stuck in your braces. It is hard to clean away and the best practice is just to avoid it altogether.

5. See the hygienist- Luckily, my orthodontist offers a hygiene service and if yours does too, make sure you book in at least once a year during your treatment. If this service isn’t on offer, just make an appointment at your dental practice with your normal hygienist. Regular examinations and cleaning are an essential way of helping you stay dentally healthy and smelly breath- freeee!

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