All About Canker Sores and How to Prevent it Using Braces

Got braces? We know the struggles you’ve been dealing with ever since you got them, and don’t worry, we feel you. It takes time to adjust to wearing braces, from the tightness of the wires and elastics to your new appearance with them. It’s not an easy transition at all.

Aside from the uncomfortable feeling the metal braces give you initially, sometimes you can get these annoying sores that make your overall experience even more annoying. These are called canker sores in this article, we’ll explain how to prevent canker sores using braces in Sacramento (or treat them if you’re dealing with one right now).

Keep reading to learn how you can prevent canker sores using braces.

What are Canker Sores?

Canker sores are tiny, shallow lesions that manifest on your mouth’s soft tissue or your gum’s base. Compared to the typical cold sore that we know, canker sores are not contagious nor appear on the surface of your lips. Nonetheless, this kind of sore is extremely painful and uncomfortable.

Generally, canker sores can go away on their own within a week or two. But sometimes that week can sometimes feel like the longest seven days ever, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to treat canker sores, as well as what you should do in order to prevent yourself from getting one.

If you do have a canker sore that’s unusually big in size and doesn’t seem to heal as time passes, then it’s best to visit an orthodontist or dentist in order to check it out and make a  proper diagnosis of it.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores has still not been recognized, but here are some factors that most likely trigger the development of canker sores:

  • Toothpaste and mouthwash that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
  • A minor injury inside your mouth due to aggressive brushing, dental work, or an accidental cheek bite
  • Emotional stress
  • Hormonal shifts (during menstruation)
  • A possible allergic reaction to a specific bacteria inside your mouth
  • Lack of iron, vitamin B-12, zinc, or folate

Canker sores can also manifest due to specific diseases or conditions such as:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease)
  • Celiac Disease

How to Prevent Canker Sores

From the basics of drinking tons of water to using orthodontic wax, here are the different methods you can try in order to prevent canker sores from developing inside your mouth.

#1 – Drink plenty of water

Keeping yourself hydrated already has a lot of benefits, one of them would keep you from developing canker sores. When you drink a lot of water, it keeps your mouth from getting dry. A dry mouth is more susceptible to harboring bacteria and irritation from braces. Not to mention, drinking water helps your mouth produce saliva, which has antibodies that can help in preventing the canker sore bacteria from spreading around.

#2 – Rinse with a saltwater solution

Rinsing your mouth with some sort of saltwater solution helps with the reduction of inflammation if any. Additionally, it also prevents any infection from spreading further. The moment you feel some sort of irritation inside your mouth, you must immediately rinse with the solution to alleviate the discomfort.

#3 – Use orthodontic wax

As a brace-wearer, you’ve definitely heard of orthodontic wax before. It’s notably the most effective and easiest way to keep your braces from damaging or irritating the inside of your mouth. All you have to do is insert a tiny amount of wax on top of the bracket or the part of the wire that’s behind the discomfort or pain you’re experiencing so that there won’t be a huge chance of a canker sore developing.

#4 – Eat simple foods

You already know that there are certain food restrictions ever since you started wearing your braces. Avoid the different kinds of food that can damage your braces and bring irritation to the inside of your mouth. Foods that are crunchy, sticky, chewy, or any that will require you to exert a strong bite into are big no-nos for someone wearing braces.

Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and you’ll keep yourself safe from any development of canker sores.

How to Treat Canker Sores

Sometimes, getting a canker sore can be unavoidable despite how many prevention tips you follow. Luckily, you’ll be able to treat it with simple remedies. We don’t want our patients to feel distraught the entire time they’re wearing braces as it’s supposed to be a fun experience!

Here are five simple ways you can treat canker sores.

#1 – Take over-the-counter pain medication

There’s nothing that an over-the-counter pain medication can’t fix! If your canker sores are giving you an uncomfortable feeling to the point that you’re getting headaches already, then you can take a pain reliever in order to alleviate the feeling. This won’t necessarily get rid of the sore immediately, but at least you’ll feel less pain and discomfort.

#2 – Place teabags over the lesions

Did you know that tea bags have antiseptic properties? Yes, placing teabags over the lesions can help with the healing process. Simply soak the tea in lukewarm water and then apply it directly to prevent canker sores or the area inside your mouth that’s inflamed. If you love drinking tea, then this is a great way to reuse the tea bags after drinking your cup.

#3 – Have patience

As mentioned earlier, canker sores can go away on their own within a week or two. In the meantime, continue rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution and avoid irritating the sore even more in order to speed up the healing process. Patience is key here, and try not to get so stressed about it and go on about your life since the sore is just temporary.

#4 – Pay your orthodontist a visit

If you feel helpless with the amount of discomfort and pain the canker sores is giving you, then surely visiting your orthodontist in Sacramento isn’t such a bad idea. At least you’re in the hands of an expert who can properly give you advice and recommendations on how to treat it.


Canker sores are annoying but treatable. Now that you know exactly what to do how to prevent canker sores, then you’re ready for anything! To learn more about braces and canker sores, contact us today! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Holt to determine the most suitable treatment for your situation.