If your child wears braces or invisible aligners like Invisalign
, there are many things they need to watch out for. Thee devices provide many places for bacteria to multiply, which may cause them to develop bad breath if they're not careful. There is good news though - there are steps you and your child can take to reduce or eliminate this problem; children can incorporate many of these into their day easily. They'll get rid of the problem and improve their oral health in the process.
What Causes Halitosis? (Bad Breath)
Firstly, the major cause is bacteria multiplying in the mouth. Bacteria is everywhere, so whether your child is sick or has eaten something strong, it will contribute to bad breath whether or not they have aligners of any type on their teeth - the aligners just make the problem worse. What can I do to make sure my child has fresh breath?
Ensure Kids Brush Several Times a Day
No one likes to brush their teeth all the time, but kids who need to straighten their teeth need to brush often to keep their teeth and gums in good health. Most kids should brush their teeth twice a day; however, if they're having problems with halitosis
, they need to brush even more often. This helps keep the bacteria away that cause it. They also need to brush their gums, the roof of their mouth and tongue very well, because bacteria breed in these places.
Keep Toothpicks or Dental Picks with Them
Children should keep toothpicks or dental picks with them all the time. These tools, along with dental floss, can help remove little bits of food that get stuck in between the teeth and gums. They're easy enough for children to keep with them in their bag at school so they can use them in the bathroom after lunch. When using these objects, they should work gently to dislodge food particles.
Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Mouthwash
Antimicrobial and antibacterial mouthwash can also get into places your child's toothbrush can't reach, so they can wash away the food particles they dislodge with dental floss
and dental picks. If you're worried about your child using mouthwash, they can also use a gentle mixture of one part water to two parts hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide they use should be the 3% hydrogen peroxide that can be bought at the drugstore. As a bonus, hydrogen peroxide also makes the teeth look whiter temporarily. Children should remember to spit out the hydrogen peroxide solution once they're done.
Buy a Water Pick
The forceful jet of water that the water pick emits certainly gets into the crevices and cracks. This helps keep the teeth and gums clean and reduces the possibility that your child will develop offensive breath. If you decide to buy one of these for your child, they should use it at least twice a day.
Replace Toothbrush Frequently
Most everyone should replace their toothbrush every three months. However, children who are sick, have halitosis, or have frayed bristles on their toothbrush should replace it more often. This lessens the number of bacteria that grow in the mouth.
Buy Sugarless Breath Mints and Mouth Fresheners
When your child is at school and none of the above-mentioned items are available, they can use breath mints and mouth fresheners to keep their mouth fresh when they're on the go. If they want to freshen their breath after lunch or after eating a snack at school, it's easy enough for them to put a breath mint in their mouth. When choosing breath mints for your child, try to look for breath mints that have no added sugar, such as Breath Savers, Altoids or Tic-Tacs.
Make Sure They Drink Water
Drinking water is important for overall health, but it can also reduce foul-smelling breath. Whenever someone has a dry mouth, there's no saliva flowing. Saliva is necessary to wash away the food particles that cause breath that's offensive or strong-smelling. The average person should drink about 1 1/2 liters of water a day to maintain overall good health. Make sure your children get plenty of water while they're home, and encourage them to drink water when they're school or out with their friends.
Avoid strong-smelling and sugary foods. Foods with strong smells, such as garlic and onions, cause strong-smelling breath. In addition, eating a lot of sugary foods causes tooth decay. This also leads to offensive breath. Foods kids with braces should eat
Foods they should avoid include:
- Milkshakes, ice cream or smoothies
- Soft baked goods such as muffins or biscuits
- Softer varieties of bread
- Soft beans
- Mashed or boiled potatoes
- Noodles and pasta
- Soft, boneless seafood
- Soft cooked meat with no bones, such as boneless chicken breasts.
- Soft cheese
- Carrots that aren't finely cut
- Tacos with hard shells
- Pizza crust
- Bread crust
Do your best to make sure your child gets plenty of brace-friendly foods and doesn't eat many of the foods they should avoid.
Schedule Regular Check-ups with Your Child's Orthodontist
Finally, making sure your child sees the orthodontist regularly will help reduce their chances of bad breath and tooth and gum problems developing. If your child has been having problems with their oral health, you may want to contact their orthodontist to see if they need to go in for a check-up, or to at least get some advice.
Bad breath can be a serious problem, but it doesn't have to be. Trying the solutions mentioned here will help most of the time. If your child has tried these solutions and none of them have worked, it may be time to schedule an appointment. Accordingly, if your child has any problems with their braces or Invisalign devices, feel free to contact Dr. King for an appointment.
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6460 Far Hills Ave
Centerville, OH 45459
Phone: (937) 433-0830
Bad Breath Causes and Solutions (for Kids with Braces)