The battle of braces and bad breath
SUMMARY: When you're a teenager, having braces can be embarassing enough, but bad breath, too?
Posted: January 22, 2013
Although people of all ages have braces, the most common group of individuals are teenagers. Having braces is bad enough, but a lot of times kids will experience bad breath along with them! Not only can kids get teased about issues like this, it can be confusing to continually have to battle this issue. Many people revert to gum chewing, but this isn't recommended with braces because it can damage the hardware. Plus, unless the gum is sugar-free, it is likely doing more harm than good.
What's causing this?
Bad breath is caused by too much bacteria in the mouth. All that metal is catching food particles, and even if you're brushing regularly it can be pretty hard to miss. Even if you don't have braces, any remnant of food that is left behind in the mouth is serving as a breeding ground for bacteria to take over and wreak havoc on your breath. Having braces, wires, a retainer or bands are just another obstacle that food has to get around to get down your throat.
Best foods to eat
Did you know that the food you eat can be a direct cause of your bad breath? Makes sense, right? If you're eating fried chicken fingers or pizza, you can just feel the aftermath lingering in your mouth. And imagine how that smells. (I'll give you a hint: Not good.) Now it's not to say that these foods need to be entirely extracted from any diet, but they shouldn't be consumed on a regular basis. Try to eat more fruits and veggies that contain vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy mouth and help target the bacteria. These foods also do a great job of scrubbing your teeth and mouth because they are slightly abrasive.
Just keep drinking (H2O)
Drinking water is a great way to get rid of bad breath, especially after a smelly meal. Water rinses away those food particles that get stuck in the crevices of your mouth and braces. It also does wonders to keep your mouth moist, which is a key in eliminating bad breath. When you have dry mouth, the bacteria just sit in your mouth and stench up your breath. Getting rid of dry mouth is step one to keeping minty fresh breath.
Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things to alleviate and prevent bad breath, and when you have braces, it's even more necessary. Remember those crevices we were talking about? If they're not cleaned out properly, what do you think will happen? Carefully and efficiently brushing your teeth each day and night - and after large, pungent meals - can greatly decrease your probability of suffering from bad breath. Take a look at the ingredients in your toothpaste, and if it contains sodium lauryl sulfate, you might want to invest in another product because this dries out your mouth - and we know what happens then. Make sure you get to the gums, back of the tongue, inside and outside of the teeth when brushing.
Using an alcohol free mouthwash regularly will decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth, and it can help soothe any irritations or inflammations in your mouth. It's common for people with braces to experience mouth wounds or canker sores from the metal scrapping against the side of the mouth. These issues can cause bad breath. Once you're done brushing and flossing, finishing your routine with a mouthwash will really ensure your breath is fresh and clean.