There are so many benefits to orthodontic treatment, and more specifically braces. You end up with a straighter smile, better oral health, and improved self-esteem. But when you first get braces, there are some pretty big changes going on in your mouth and to your daily routine. It may take you a little while to get used to those changes, and unfortunately one of the side effects can be bad breath.


What Causes It? 

The bad news is that bad breath is embarrassing. But the good news is that in most cases, it’s preventable! The most common cause of bad breath (with or without braces) is bacteria in the mouth. Food particles that aren’t removed from your mouth will start to collect bacteria and produce a stinky smell. Check out Dr. Harris’ tips to help prevent bad breath while wearing braces.


Tip 1: Brush and Floss Regularly

This one is the most basic and most obvious tip – brush and floss regularly! Brush all the surfaces of your teeth and make sure to carefully angle your toothbrush to remove food from in and around your brackets. Use a floss threader or Waterpik to floss and reach the spaces your toothbrush misses. Do this twice a day and after eating whenever possible.


Tip 2: Antibacterial Mouthwash

Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing, and make sure it’s antibacterial. This will help to reduce the amount of bad-breath-causing stuff that may be leftover after brushing and flossing.


Tip 3: Hydration Station

If your mouth is dry, you produce more saliva, making your mouth a place where bacteria can thrive. When you’re dehydrated it can contribute to or cause bad breath. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. In addition to keeping you hydrated, it will help give your mouth a rinse that can help prevent bacteria growth.


Tip 4: Watch What You Eat

Avoid foods that are known to cause stinky breath. Garlic, onion, canned tuna, some dairy products, and other foods are notorious for leaving you wondering if your breath smells. Try to avoid these foods or brush as soon as you can after eating them.


Tip 5: Breath Mints

Even foods that aren’t known for causing bad breath can still leave you breath less than fresh. For moments like this, carry sugar-free breath mints with you. Just remember that mints are not a replacement for brushing and flossing! Be sure to suck on the mints and not crunch or chew them, as the hard candy-like texture could damage your braces. And avoid breath-freshening gum as it will stick to braces and may damage them.


Tip 6: Regular Dental Visits

It’s important to keep up with your general dentist visits while you’re wearing braces. Twice a year, you should get your teeth cleaned and have a checkup. This will help keep your teeth healthy. These visits may also detect any decay that could be an underlying cause of bad breath.


Tip 7: Regular Orthodontist Visits

In addition to adjusting your braces, your orthodontist visits help us to see if there are any problems in your mouth – including those that may be causing bad breath. If you are concerned about bad breath, be sure to let us know! Our entire team is here to help you make wearing braces as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.