Dental braces are quite common among teens and adults in the U.S., as is something that these orthodontic appliances can cause - bad breath. A recent study by dentists and periodontists in Turkey found that metal dental hardware can give rise to halitosis, even among people who typically have good breath to begin with.
The study, which appears in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, revolved around 41 adolescent participants, 20 of whom were given braces during the course of the study. Researchers found that the introduction of these appliances increased the presence of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) in the mouth over the course of one month.
First, participants were chosen for their good oral health and lack of previous dental procedures. Half were then given typical braces, with metal brackets bonded to teeth and nickel-titanium archwires connecting each tooth to its neighbors.
Researchers then monitored the teens' plaque levels, gingivitis status and VSC levels over the course of four weeks.
The team found that after one week these measurements began to differ between the two groups, and that after one month those with braces had significantly higher levels of VSCs in their mouths.
They concluded that braces appear to give oral microbes added purchase on the teeth, allowing them more space to grow and multiply.
It should not be totally surprising that braces allow breath to get bad. After all, traditional wire braces are notoriously hard to clean with a tooth brush, and their wires and bands can catch food particles during meals.
In fact, many oral appliances can contribute to bad breath. Studies have shown that dentures collect a film of microorganisms that can quickly lead to a sour smell.
A study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology found that denture wearers who experience dry mouth - and especially those who wear their dentures overnight - are prone to powerful bad breath.
Even dental implants can contribute to oral odor, though research on the topic is still searching for the definitive cause.
Research published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants determined that the depth of dental implants may be the variable that affects halitosis the most. The study found that individuals with the deepest two-stage implants were the most likely to experience bad breath.
Among all of these appliances, oral bacteria is the issue. By rinsing with a specialty breath freshener or using a daily M-18 Probiotics Kit, individuals with bad breath can fight back against odor-causing microbes.