If you are experiencing discomfort or pain in your mouth tissues during braces treatment, it is possible that you have a developing mouth ulcer that needs attention. You can treat mouth ulcers from braces at home using a few different methods, but the best way to treat them is by preventing them.

Potter Orthodontics wants patients to know how to tell if they have a mouth ulcer and what they can do to prevent and/or treat them appropriately.

What are mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers are typically whitish swollen spots on mouth tissues that are also known as mouth sores, but they can present as red, yellow, or gray in color as well. Along with discoloration and swelling, mouth ulcers tend to be painful and irritating, especially when eating or performing your daily oral health care routine.

Can braces cause ulcers?

There are other causes of mouth ulcers, but if you are wearing braces it is possible that your hardware is causing them by rubbing against your mouth tissues over a length of time. The spot becomes raw and irritated. If left untreated, your mouth sore could develop an infection that you should seek immediate care for from a professional.

How do you prevent ulcers from braces?

Mouth ulcers from braces are preventable, and there are several ways to do it. However, doing so will require a commitment on a daily basis that will add a little more time to your routine. But it’s better than living with painful sores in your mouth.

Brush and Floss

Brushing and flossing your teeth and braces removes food particles and helps keep your mouth clean. A clean mouth is a healthy mouth. Poor oral hygiene results in your mouth being more vulnerable to developing mouth sores as well as other dental problems such as cavities and gum disease, which won’t aid in reducing the discomfort you feel.

Gently brush your teeth and braces with a soft toothbrush or even an interdental toothbrush to make sure you reach difficult places. Clean between your teeth using floss. A floss threader is perfect for helping you thread the floss over or under the wire of your braces. WaterPik or other brands of oral irrigators wash your gums and mouth tissues for a more thorough cleaning.

Silicone Covers

Silicone covers that you can purchase online or in stores cover your braces to prevent them from rubbing on your mouth tissues. Simply make sure your braces are dry before you apply the covers so they will stay put until you decide to remove them.

Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax is another great way to prevent your braces from contacting your mouth tissues. You apply the wax, which you can get from your orthodontist or wherever dental products are sold to your braces similar to how you would apply beeswax to your lips when they are dry. Make sure you warm up the wax in your hands prior to applying it for best results.


Rinsing is an effective way to remove excess food particles that brushing and flossing miss. There are also special rinsing products such as Rincinol PRN and mouthwash that clean your mouth and make it healthier. For those with an aversion to chemicals, one natural rinse solution is mixing sage with warm water.

Drink Water

Speaking of water, patients who are wearing braces should drink water regularly to promote the production of saliva, which has natural anti-bacterial properties that prevent mouth sores and possible infection. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Don’t let it.

Regularly Visit Your Orthodontist

Of course, not every method is possible in the comfort of your own home. Make routine appointments to see your orthodontist or your dentist so they can inspect your mouth for possible issues that need to be corrected. Regular dental cleanings provide a more thorough clean, and your dentist can see and reach every part of your braces and mouth. You may even need an adjustment that can stop your hardware from rubbing against your tissues.

How do you treat ulcers from braces?

Maybe your prevention efforts did not quite work and you have mouth ulcers from braces anyway. Now it’s time to treat it so it doesn’t get worse.

Saltwater Rinse

Rinsing with salt water for 30 seconds or more can reduce pain and swelling, as well as clean your mouth by eliminating bacteria that could cause an infection. Mix a half teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water and repeat as necessary.

Pain Relief Medication

Over-the-counter pain medications and topical ointments both work to reduce pain and inflammation. Typical pain relievers include acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, which you should take as instructed. Common topical pain relievers are applied as needed to the mouth sore and include Orabase and Anbesol. Be sure to consult your orthodontist before using a pain reliever.

Tea Bags

It sounds fake but placing a warm soaked tea bag on the mouth sore is an effective treatment because tea has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and swelling, making it a great natural method to treat mouth ulcers from braces if you are not keen on taking over-the-counter medications.

Anti-Septic Rinses

Mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide is just one of several anti-septic rinses on the market that clean mouth sores, prevent infection, and promote healing.

Reduce Stress

Stress can make mouth sores so much worse, so try to reduce your stress by exercising, practicing yoga or meditation, or by engaging in fun activities that you find relaxing such as reading or playing golf.

Change Your Diet

Of course, some foods and drinks can irritate or worsen mouth ulcers. Acidic foods and drinks are particularly bad to consume if you have mouth ulcers. So, avoid these foods, which include coffee, soda, tomatoes, alcohol, and seafood, just to name a few. This is only temporary until your mouth sores heal, but try to reduce these consumables to prevent new mouth sores from developing.

Contact Potter Orthodontics

At Potter Orthodontics, we are committed to providing our patients with the best care possible using the most up-to-date techniques and state-of-the-art technology. We not only can provide you with the braces treatment you need, but we can also help you prevent or treat mouth ulcers. To schedule an appointment, contact our office today!

Don’t let the possibility of mouth sores stop you from fixing your teeth. Potter Orthodontics is here for you every step of the way.