Can Braces Give You Bad Breath?

Published: July 06, 2012
Dear Can Braces Give You Bad Breath?,
I have braces and I brush my teeth and put the fluoride on, but I'm very insecure about my breath. It doesn't smell good and I can't talk to my friends without covering my mouth. Is there any advice you can give me, thanks! I also use bands if that has to do with anything.

Dear Can Braces Give You Bad Breath?,

The main cause of bad breath is the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth.  The more food particles left in your mouth, the more will bacteria continue to thrive on it. This leads to dental plaque which formed by colonizing bacteria trying to attach themselves to the smooth surface the tooth.  Braces, wires, bands and retainers can add to the problems because they can trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque.  Good oral hygiene is especially important for people wearing braces. Cleaning braces by careful brushing, flossing and rinsing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque buildup.

Here are some tips:


  1. Start with the outside of the teeth, with the brush at a straight angle. Use circular, vibrating motions.
  2. Clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush down (up for the upper jaw). Keep moving in a small, circular motion.
  3. Clean the rest of the outside of the teeth by angling the brush up (down for the lower jaw).
  4. Carefully brush the chewing surface of both the upper and lower jaw.
  5. Finish by brushing the inside of the teeth.


  1. Floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be pulled under the archwire. A floss threader facilitates this. Start by pulling floss through the threader
  2. Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through
  3. Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.
  4. Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.


  1. When you are finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse when cleaning your braces.
  2. An antiseptic dental rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances. Also used to cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other mouth and gum irritations, this mouth rinse removes debris, enabling natural healing to occur.

Also make sure that you do not allow your mouth to turn dry as that is one major cause for bacterial growth. If you want a good example of this think “morning breath.”