Canker Sores and Braces

Canker sores can be a pain, literally. And often people who have braces tend to experience a greater incidence of these sores. We will address common causes, treatment, prevention, and when to contact your orthodontist when you are experiencing an increased occurrence of canker sores.

Common Causes of Canker Sores

Canker sores are a painful sores located on the inside of a person’s mouth, generally the tongue or cheek. Usually the onset of canker sores can be predicted by a burning or tingling inside the mouth. Once canker sores emerge, they are a round, white or grey sore with a red edge or border. The most common cause of canker sores are mouth ulcers, although there are a number of other causes that affect many people. Dry mouth, stress, tissue injury, consuming foods that are high in acid, and sharp dental appliances are all reasons that a person can show signs of a canker sore. While the cheeks and mouths of those wearing braces can toughen up over time and reduce the likelihood of getting canker sores, those with braces show a greater occurrence of canker sores because of many reasons. Small cuts and abrasions inside the mouth can lead to canker sores. Accidentally biting the inside of the cheek or the tongue, which can sometimes happen because of the added equipment in the mouths of those who wear braces, also adds to the likelihood of getting those painful sores. Additionally, the metals found in braces can continually rub and irritate the inside of one’s mouth triggering ulcers.

Best Treatment and Prevention Practices for Canker Sores

While treatment helps in the length of time that a canker sore affects your mouth, prevention is the best way to handle this problem. Since braces are a major factor in a person being prone to these painful sores, talking to your orthodontist about dental wax or silicone is the best way to prevent canker sores. Dental wax can help relieve and prevent the metal appliances from rubbing up against the inside of your mouth. While most orthodontists automatically distribute dental wax to patients with braces, it doesn’t hurt to ask for some extra if you have an issue with chronic canker sores during the course of your orthodontic treatment. Additionally, dental silicone is a great option. Brands like Orthosil stay in place and are almost invisible. While these are more expensive, you can usually rinse them off and reuse them. Besides proper oral hygiene, many patients ask how to speed up the healing process and reduce the pain associated with canker sores. There are a few options for treatment. Mixing a teaspoon of table salt with warm water can help to heal canker sores. Increasing your fluid intake, mouth rinses for oral pain, acetaminophen to reduce your pain, staying away from foods that are high in acids, and using topical medications are all ways to treat canker sores.

When to Contact Your Orthodontist

While canker sores are a common problem that most people deal with, there are certain circumstances when it is crucial you contact your orthodontist. Cases of severe canker sores include additional symptoms such as fever, physical sluggishness, and swollen lymph nodes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with your canker sores, it is important that you contact your orthodontist immediately. Besides experiencing severe canker sores, make sure you contact your orthodontist if you have broken or protruding wires or brackets to prevent you from further pain and the development of canker sores. Staying on top of your oral health is the best way to keep yourself pain free and on the right road to a healthier and happier smile!