At some point during your orthodontic treatment you may experience a canker sore from braces. (Don’t worry, it sounds a lot worse than it is.) Although these sores aren’t a cause for concern and they’re a common occurrence, they can be a bit uncomfortable.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to relieve your discomfort, treat these sores and prevent them from worsening. We’ve got the tips and tricks to help you deal with braces cutting the side of your mouth or small canker sores developing on the inside of your cheeks.
What causes a canker sore?
Canker sores from braces are generally caused by irritation. They’re more common during the first few days or weeks after getting your braces on, because your mouth is still adjusting to the metal brackets and wires.
They typically develop on the inside of your cheeks or lips, as your braces rub against these areas when you eat and speak. Canker sores can also develop as a result of eating certain foods, specifically citrus fruits and other acidic foods.
If you’ve been feeling stressed lately, this can cause canker sores too. These small mouth sores have been linked to higher stress levels and nutritional deficits.
Canker sores may form for a number of reasons during your orthodontic treatment—and they may not even be related to your braces! Either way, there are steps you can take to treat these if they appear.
Top 5 Ways to Deal with a Mouth Sore
1. Orthodontic Wax
We recommend keeping some on-hand throughout the day, while you’re at school or work, in case your braces start to bug you. To use ortho wax (also called dental wax), pull a small piece of wax off—with CLEAN hands of course—and roll it into a ball. Place it over the irritating piece on your bracket or wire and press it to secure the wax. Ortho wax will provide a smooth barrier between your braces and your cheeks or lips to protect them from irritation!
Anytime you feel your braces start to rub against your cheeks or lips, place some ortho wax over the metal piece to prevent the sore from forming.
2. Silicone Covers for Braces
Dental silicone covers function similarly to orthodontic wax. They come in thin strips and are placed on your braces to protect your mouth from irritation. With ortho wax, you’ll have to replace the wax every so often as the material starts to disintegrate.
Dental silicone lasts longer than ortho wax, but it can be more difficult to apply. For these silicone covers to work, your braces have to be completely dry. You can place these strips over dry brackets, then pinch them into place. Once they’re secured, you use a wet finger to smooth the edges.
Silicone strips cover multiple brackets at once and can provide relief if your braces are cutting the side of your mouth or you feel a canker sore forming.
3. Salt Water Rinse
Salt water is an excellent, natural treatment method for a variety of oral conditions. A saltwater solution is effective for drying out the canker sore and minimizing bacteria.
1. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with a ½ cup of lukewarm water.
2. Gargle this mix by swishing it around either side of your cheeks for about 30 seconds.
3. Spit out the solution.
4. Repeat this treatment as often as you need!
Gargling salt water every few hours can prevent your cheeks from becoming inflamed, sore or irritated from your braces.
4. Use Colgate® Peroxyl® Mouth Sore Rinse
We highly recommend rinsing your mouth with this specialized mouth sore rinse! Colgate Peroxyl is designed to cleanse minor wounds or sores and promotes proper healing. This rinse is alcohol-free and uses 1.5% hydrogen peroxide to prevent infections and treat minor mouth sores.
When you start treatment with us, we’ll give you some free samples!
5. Avoid things that irritate your cheeks!
This one may be common sense, but it helps to identify the source of your canker sore to prevent it from recurring. Think back to the food you had at lunch. What did you eat for breakfast? Did you eat any citrus fruits, like an orange, or maybe some lemon juice in a smoothie? Acidic fruits, like pineapples, can also irritate your mouth. If fruit is your thing, opt for fruits with lower acidity, like bananas and watermelon.
If you love spicy foods, eat these with caution too! Spice can irritate your cheeks and lead to canker sores.
If you’re prone to canker sores, adopt some healthy habits to reduce your stress levels. (High stress levels are linked to canker sores, remember?) Go for a walk in the morning. Practice yoga or start meditating. Read your favorite book for 30 minutes or an hour every night. These healthy habits can benefit you in so many ways.
At Blue Wave Orthodontics, we’re all about looking good, doing good, and feeling good. These all start with the choices you make and the habits you form! If you get recurring canker sores, we encourage you to try out some of these healthy habits and keep some ortho wax or dental silicone on hand.
Pinpointing the source of the irritation is the best way to get rid of canker sores from braces. If you have any more questions, we’re happy to answer them! Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or request a virtual check-in with us.
We want to help make your orthodontic treatment process as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Ready to transform your smile? Request a complimentary consultation with us today!