Bad Breath and Braces

Bad Breath and Braces

From painful visits to the orthodontist to embarrassing brackets and wires, there are plenty of common downfalls associated with traditional metal braces. In case dealing with the discomfort of metal braces wasn’t enough, bad breath is an additional side-effect that patients will commonly deal with. Fortunately, Invisalign is a great alternative option for those who want to straighten their teeth without the numerous pitfalls of metal braces. Although bad breath can occur in patients using Invisalign as well, the likelihood is diminished because the aligners can be removed for thorough cleaning. Today, Dr. John Durling explains what causes bad breath, why this problem is amplified with metal braces, and how to avoid this issue in the first place.

What causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common issue experienced by many people whether they’re going through orthodontic treatment or not. An excess amount of bacteria in the mouth is the most common cause of bad breath. Other possible causes of bad breath include:

  • Dry Mouth: Saliva is important for avoiding bad breath because it helps wash away remaining food debri in your mouth that can potentially cause bad breath. Various medications and mouth breathing can cause dry mouth too.
  • Tobacco: “Smoker’s breath” is a common side effect of those who use tobacco products. Using these products will cause bad breath and can likely cause more serious oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Poor Hygiene: Food particles that are not removed from brushing and flossing make your mouth a breeding ground for bacteria. The plaque, or sticky film of bacteria, on your teeth can eventually cause gum disease and other serious issues.
  • Specific Food Choices: Leftover food debri from certain food choices like onions, garlic, and spices can cause an unpleasant odor. While you’re digesting these specific food choices, they can continue to affect your breath when they enter your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs.

Patients with Braces: More Susceptible to Bad Breath?

With these common causes, anyone can be susceptible to developing bad breath. However, individuals with traditional metal braces are even more prone to bad breath. The main reason is the brackets and wires that inhibit proper oral cleaning. These wires and brackets can make it extremely difficult to remove all of the food debri left in your mouth. The additional nooks and crannies created with metal braces also make ideal areas for food debri and bacteria to build up. The food particles trapped in your mouth make you more likely to suffer from bad breath.

What can you do?

Invisalign is a great option for patients who are concerned about bad breath while going through orthodontic treatment. The clear aligners used with the Invisalign system are not only discreet in their look, but they are also removable. The removable aligners allow you to properly practice oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing is more effective and easier without wires and brackets getting in the way. Patients with Invisalign can avoid bad breath by keeping their aligners properly cleaned. Cleaning your Invisalign aligners is a simple and easy way to prevent bad breath.

Other Ways to Treat Bad Breath

There are other various ways to prevent bad breath in addition to choosing Invisalign. Here are a few tips:

  • Floss more frequently: Food can easily get trapped between teeth. If you notice that you’re dealing with bad breath, you may need to floss more frequently to remove the food debri.
  • Scrape tongue: Your tongue is a large area of your mouth that can hold bacteria and cause bad breath. We recommend using a tongue scraper to scrape off bacteria and food particles.
  • Drink more water: Staying hydrated will encourage saliva production, which will help wash away food debri that can cause foul odors in your mouth.
  • Use mouthwash: Using an antibacterial mouthwash can be a great extra step to add to your oral hygiene routine. A mouthwash can temporarily freshen your breath while killing bacteria that causes chronic bad breath.
  • Visit the dentist: If you’re dealing with bad breath frequently, there may be something more serious going on with your oral health. We advise you to go speak to your dentist about your concerns. Bad breath is often a warning sign of more serious oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay.