Fighting Bad Breath with Braces

Braces are a necessary part of your treatment for orthodontic problems like crowded teeth. But, unfortunately, they can also cause bad breath. 

Bad breath can be embarrassing and difficult to deal with as it can linger in the mouth during the day. Here are some things you should know about how braces cause bad breath and how to deal with it if you’re living with braces.

What Causes Bad Breath with Braces?

Braces can cause bad breath in a few ways. First, the braces trap food particles and bacteria under the wire, leading to severe gum inflammation or even gingivitis.

Additionally, the brackets on your teeth collect plaque, which could lead to cavities and tooth decay over time if not taken care of properly. Finally, poorly fitted retainers have the potential to cause bad breath.

The critical thing to remember is that the braces themselves do not cause bad breath. Instead, braces may cause an increase in bacteria and plaque due to food particles that get trapped under the wire. 

The best way to prevent these issues is by taking good care of your teeth and mouth with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. 

Fighting Bad Breath with Braces

If you are already experiencing problems from the braces causing bad breath, there are some easy steps that can help protect your oral hygiene.

Brush and Floss

Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly every day. This will help remove all of the plaque, food particles, and bacteria from your mouth that could be causing bad breath. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is always the best.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

If you’re having a hard time getting rid of bad breath, try using an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your mouth. This can also help prevent bad breath in the future.

Chew Gum or Eat Mints

If you have a persistent bad toothache, chew on some sugar-free gum to mask any odors coming from your mouth. If that doesn’t work, try chewing mints. This will freshen up your breath and give those with braces something to chew on for a while.

Use a Dry Mouth Spray

A dry mouth spray is another great way to deal with bad breath caused by braces. These sprays will help keep your mouth and throat moist by releasing a soothing cool spray that moisturizes dry mucous membranes to provide relief from mouth dryness and help reduce bad breath.

Floss Daily

Don’t forget about flossing. Effective flossing can remove food particles and plaque that are stuck between your gum and teeth. It can be trickier to floss with braces but use a standard floss with a floss threader. Alternatively, you can use an orthodontic flosser. If you use regular floss, choose waxed floss since unwaxed floss can get stuck between your braces when it gets accidentally cut and shredded.

Drink Lots of Water

When you stay hydrated throughout the day, you’re less likely to experience a dry mouth since there will be higher saliva production. Drinking water will also help to wash off any food residue and bacteria, keeping your breath much fresher.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Don’t forget to schedule regular dental cleaning and orthodontic checks. This way, you can catch any dental issues early on and keep your teeth and gums healthy, so you can have fresher breath.


It’s vital to remember that the braces themselves do not cause bad breath with braces. The problem usually stems from food particles, bacteria, and plaque building up on brackets or metal wires in your mouth. Braces can also lead to cavities if you don’t brush them regularly. Follow these tips, and you’ll soon find that bad breath will become a thing of the past.

Author: Dr. Alan Wong
Dr. Alan Wong is a dedicated orthodontist who loves helping his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. He is committed to providing gentle, effective care in a patient-centered environment. Dr. Wong is also a strong believer in continuing education, so he can provide his patients with the latest and greatest treatment options.