10 Ways to Combat Bad Breath with Braces and Invisalign
- October 1, 2023
- 6 mins read
Whether you have metal braces or Invisalign, orthodontic devices add complexity to maintaining fresh breath. No one wants to worry about having an unpleasant breath when talking to friends, family, or coworkers. So, in this article, we will explore the different ways to prevent bad breath while wearing braces.
What Causes of Bad Breath with Braces?
Bad breath, also called halitosis, is a common dental problem, especially if you wear braces. To stay minty fresh, first and foremost, you need to understand why bad breath happens.
1. Trapped Food Particles
The nooks and crannies of your pearly whites and braces are perfect hiding spots for small bits and pieces of food. From last night’s steak dinner to this morning’s oatmeal, when food particles get wedged in hard-to-reach areas, they can decompose and cause an odor.
2. Bacterial Growth
Braces provide additional surfaces for bacteria to cling to. These microorganisms can thrive between wires, brackets, aligners, and teeth. As they multiply, they release waste products that can cause bad breath.
3. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is another common concern for individuals with braces. Saliva is like nature’s mouthwash. When it’s in short supply, bad breath occurs.
How to Prevent Bad Breath with Braces and Invisalign
Perfecting your oral hygiene routine, which includes the recommendations below, should prevent or address bad breath while wearing braces.
1. Brush and Floss Properly
As discussed in our 10 Commandments of Surviving Adult Orthodontics, daily brushing and flossing keep bad breath at bay.
Start with the right tools. A soft-bristle orthodontic toothbrush is gentle on your braces and gums. Ensure to brush after every meal. Angle the brush at 45 degrees toward your gum line and take your time brushing all the nooks and crannies. Remember to reach the tops of your braces and between the wires. Be thorough; spend at least two minutes on this task.
Flossing can be tricky with braces, but don’t skip it! Floss threaders are your allies here, helping you navigate floss between wires and brackets. Use waxed floss for smoother movement. Clean between your teeth and around your braces to get rid of any trapped particles.
2. Use a Tongue Scraper
Don’t forget about your tongue! Bacteria can also accumulate on its surface and contribute to bad breath.
Using a tongue scraper can remove this buildup. Gently scrape your tongue from back to front, rinsing the scraper between each pass. Adding this step to your daily routine can make a difference in preserving fresh breath.
3. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash is another ally in your fight against stinky breath. Choose an antibacterial, fluoride mouthwash to rinse with after brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping. It strengthens your enamel and eliminates bacteria hiding in hard-to-reach areas. Swish the mouthwash for at least 30 to 60 seconds to ensure it reaches all the necessary spots. It’s a quick and practical step that helps kill bacteria and adds an extra layer of defense against bad breath.
4. Mind What You Eat
Your diet matters. Some foods can exacerbate the problem, while others can help keep your breath fresh. Certain fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumber, apples, and pears, promote saliva production. These chewy fruits and veggies also have the added benefit of gently scrubbing your teeth, helping to remove trapped particles.
On the flip side, avoid sticky, crumbly, super sugary foods that can get caught in your braces and promote bacterial growth. Limiting your consumption of pungent ingredients, such as garlic and onion, is also a good idea when you’re out with friends, colleagues, or someone special.
5. Carry Breath Mints or Spearmint Gum
Breath mints and gums are lifesavers when you’re on the go and need a quick fix. Keep a small container of sugar-free, anti-bad breath candies with you for moments when you need to freshen up your breath. However, keep in mind that quick fixes cannot replace long-term solutions. Mints and gums can mask the problem but won’t address bad breath’s root causes. Using them alongside good oral hygiene practices is a more effective approach.
6. Drink Enough Water
H2O is your best friend when it comes to combating bad breath. Sip on water throughout your day, especially after meals. It helps wash away any lingering food particles and keeps you well-hydrated, as a dry mouth can worsen bad breath.
7. Use a Water Flosser
A water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator, can be a valuable addition to your oral care routine. It uses a stream of water to target and remove stubborn bacteria and food particles on your teeth and braces. It’s especially handy for getting into tight spaces that traditional flossing may miss.
8. Remove Your Aligners When Eating
Eating with your Invisalign aligners can trap food particles between them and your teeth. Ensure to take them out before meals and give them a good rinse under water before popping them back into your mouth.
9. Quit Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking causes bad breath, stains teeth, and slows the pace of orthodontic treatment. Kicking this bad habit to the curb promotes fresher breath and a healthier, more successful orthodontic journey.
10. Keep Up with Scheduled Dental Appointments
An orthodontist is your strongest ally against bad breath. During check-ups, they will adjust your braces and examine your oral health. They can offer advice, spot potential issues, and provide professional cleaning to ensure your teeth and braces are in the best possible condition.
Are you looking for some of the best orthodontists in Chandler, Arizona? Consider Kyrene Family Dentistry. Our #1 priority is to help you achieve the smile of your brightest dreams. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
You can easily prevent bad breath with braces or Invisalign through simple, consistent practices. Brushing and flossing, using mouthwash, making smart food choices, and staying hydrated should already be part of your daily life. Carrying anti-bad breath candies, considering tools like oral irrigators and tongue scrapers, and keeping up with dental check-ups are additional steps to help you rock your braces with confidence and fresh breath.