Dental appliances are big business. At least 3 million individuals in the U.S. and Canada wear braces, and countless more use retainers and mouth guards, according to Colgate. Dentures are even more common, worn by close to 37 million Americans, according to the journal Dental Economics. That means a lot of orthodontia and plenty of bad breath.
You see, oral appliances can lead to a certain amount of halitosis just by staying in your mouth. Besides offering oral bacteria more surfaces on which to live, these devices trap food particles, providing microbes with free meals.
Recent research has confirmed that oral appliances are associated with bad breath. A report published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics found that, just as in people without any orthodontic appliances, those with braces often get halitosis.
The level of oral odor measured during the study was strongest four weeks after the braces were cemented to teeth.
Since many oral appliances are important for dental health, it is not exactly logical that they should be avoided. Instead, specialty breath freshening products may be used to neutralize bacteria and odors.
For those with braces, products without sodium lauryl sulfate may be best, since this chemical can aggravate cuts caused by the appliances and potentially lead to cold sores.