fresh breath with braces

How to Have Fresh Breath with Braces

There have been many improvements to braces over the years, but despite new technology and improved practices, braces can still cause bad breath. While there are many benefits to orthodontic treatment, one downside is tiny food and particles can get stuck in between the brackets. As the food is broken down by bacteria, an unpleasant smell can develop. However, not all hope is lost. There are a few steps you can take to have fresh breath with braces.

Brush and floss regularly for fresh breath

Maintaining good oral hygiene is especially important when you have braces. After you eat, food particles remain in between your brackets, teeth, bands, and retainers. The issue is made worse as these food particles feed the bacteria in your mouth. Make sure to brush and floss after every meal to free food particles. Skipping this important step will make bacteria grow and plaque build up. This, in turn, causes bad breath. 

Upgrade your flosser

Consider using a Waterpik to remove even more food from your braces. A Waterpik will allow you to dislodge food in between your teeth, brackets, and wires that your regular flossing might have missed. You can also use a threaded flosser to get in between the wires and brackets.

Rinse with mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after you brush and floss can help remove any food particles that remain. Use an antibacterial mouthwash and swish for 30 seconds after brushing. A minty mouthwash can keep your breath smelling fresh. You can also use a mouthwash made for those with a dry mouth, which can improve your breath too.

Stay hydrated

A less commonly known cause for bad breath is dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water, at least 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women, to stay hydrated. You can also snack on foods with a high water content, such as melon, cucumbers, and strawberries. Keep a water bottle with you to remind yourself to stay hydrated. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink water proactively.

Cut back on sugar

Eat healthy, whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, and lean protein. Avoid processed foods and excess sugar. Excess sugar can lead to bacteria growth, which can cause bad breath. A diet high in added sugar can cause cavities, tooth loss, and infection. Not all sugars are created equally, so stick with sugar from natural foods, such as fruits, and avoid sugars and starches from processed foods.

Avoid stinky foods

Stay away from any food that is greasy, strong (like onions and garlic), or spicy. These foods can cause bad breath and it can be difficult to get the smell of these foods off of your breath.

Another critical step to have fresh breath with braces is to make sure to visit your orthodontist frequently for follow-up visits and check-ups. Schedule an appointment with Milnor Orthodontics to explore the best orthodontic treatment for your needs and establish a treatment plan that will keep your breath fresh with braces.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.