Battling Dry Mouth with Invisalign or Braces

Though it isn’t a deal-breaker, dry mouth and bad breath are major inconveniences that come with orthodontic treatment. When working towards a straighter smile, some patients experience changes in the microcosm of their mouth. Whether you’re getting traditional metal braces or opting for clear aligners, halitosis and xerostomia, clinical bad breath and dry mouth respectively, often occur. Fortunately, there are ways you can battle these side effects to make your orthodontic journey more enjoyable.

What Causes Bad Breath and Dry Mouth with Invisalign?

Everyone experiences the feeling of being parched countless times throughout our lives, and all of us have had unsavory scents on our breath. These unpleasant human moments come more frequently when you decide to get orthodontic treatment. Dry mouth doesn’t happen to every single patient, but it is a fairly common occurrence in people with both braces and clear aligners. Your body is built to defend against intruders, and having metal brackets or plastic trays in your mouth isn’t exactly natural.

Your mouth may be irritated at first by your grin’s new guests and will reduce the production of saliva. Less spit being produced means a greater thirst and a higher rate of dehydration. You might notice you have to change your everyday habits to make room for your braces or aligners, and this can cause some imbalance with the way your mouth is used to doing business. Simple tasks like eating and sleeping will become entirely new and you might even breathe differently because of it at first.

When your breathing patterns pivot, you might find yourself inhaling with an open mouth instead of through your nose. An excess of breathing through your mouth can cause your mouth and lips to become extremely dry, leading to an even more parched palette. 

Bad breath is never fun, but it is especially troublesome when it comes to cleaning with braces or aligners. You’ll have to take the extra steps to brush your braces and teeth, rinse and wash your aligners, and floss as thoroughly as possible, as food will cling between your brackets and wires. Your mouth will become a holding cell for tiny crumbs and mini morsels of food, so always keep a close eye on how precisely and punctually you are cleaning. Smoking, sodium-rich diets, too much caffeine, or copious amounts of alcohol will only increase your chances of dry mouth and bad breath, with or without braces.

How to Fight Back Against Your Mouth’s Defenses

Even though your mouth is only trying to protect you, if it’s constantly in a dry or smelly state, you’ll have to make some changes. While neither of these unfortunate side effects can be completely prevented or alleviated, it is possible to attack the symptoms head on and take back control. Always ask your orthodontist how you can be proactive with cleaning and hydration, and join support groups and forums that offer advice.

The first tip might be pretty obvious, but patients undergoing orthodontic treatment will need to drink large amounts of water. You should already be drinking at least 64 fluid oz. per day, but once you get metal braces or clear aligners you may find yourself taking in much more H2O. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and continually hydrate to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth. 

Secondly, keep your braces and your trays as clean as possible. We already mentioned this, but food is easily trapped in tiny pockets between brackets and wires as well as inside of your aligner trays. You’ll need to make sure you’re brushing the minimal two times a day, with intermittent cleanings dispersed throughout the day. Try swishing with mouthwash or invest in a water pick to get even more thorough with your cleaning routine. Clean out your clear aligner trays at least once daily and always avoid eating or drinking with them in. If you must snack or sip while wearing your trays, you need to clean them immediately after to avoid any unsanitary aftermath.

Last, but most definitely not least, patients wearing both metal braces and clear aligners will want to invest in some upgraded products to help battle dry mouth and bad breath. Those undergoing orthodontic treatment hold a lot of the power in their hands, but even the most hygienic people might need a helping hand when it comes to battling halitosis and xerostomia. Many brands make products that are exclusively for braces, including toothpastes that clean deeper and have a stronger formula. Orthodontic patients should also invest in a top-notch toothbrush to keep their smiles as fresh as possible. There are so many ortho-specific brushes that cater to those wearing brackets and wires. To clean your aligners, you’ll want to find something that deodorizes and deep cleans, like Invisalign’s Cleaning Crystals. 

Milnor Orthodontics is ready to help you along every step of your orthodontic journey. Whether you’re going for traditional metal braces or opting for clear aligners, our team of professionals have incredible insight on how to make your treatment as smooth as possible. We know getting braces or wearing aligners can come with a long list of worries, but most of them can be wiped away simply by asking questions. We’d love to have you come in for a consultation, free of charge, to get to know you and your smile more. Our team looks forward to working with you and giving you the tools to face any frustrations treatment may throw your way.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit milnororthodontics.com to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.