Can Braces Cause Canker Sores? Risks, Treatment & Prevention

If you’ve ever had braces, you may be familiar with the uncomfortable sensation of canker sores. These small, painful sores can make eating and speaking difficult and even interfere with orthodontic treatment. In this article, we’ll explore the connection between braces and canker sores and strategies for preventing and managing them.

Canker Sores from Braces: Common Causes and Treatments

Can braces cause canker sores?Pin

Canker sores are small ulcers that can form inside the mouth, including the cheeks, tongue, and lips. They are not contagious and typically heal independently within one to two weeks. However, for individuals with braces, canker sores can be a recurring problem due to various factors, such as:

  • Friction from brackets and wires rubbing against the inside of the mouth
  • Irritation from broken wires or brackets
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Allergic reactions to metal or latex components of the braces

To alleviate the discomfort of canker sores, try the following remedies:

  • Saltwater rinses: Mix a teaspoon of salt with warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat several times a day to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Topical gels or pastes: Over-the-counter products containing benzocaine or hydrocortisone can temporarily relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Avoiding certain foods: Spicy, acidic, or crunchy foods can further irritate canker sores, so it’s best to avoid them until they heal.

Preventing Canker Sores During Braces Treatment

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent canker sores from occurring in the first place. These include:

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene: Brush and floss regularly to keep your mouth clean and free from bacteria that can cause canker sores.
  • Using orthodontic wax: If brackets or wires are irritating, apply orthodontic wax to smooth out rough edges and protect the inside of your mouth.
  • Wearing a mouthguard: If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and reduce the risk of canker sores.

Braces and Canker Sores: Coping with Discomfort and Pain

Even with the best preventive measures, canker sores can still occur during orthodontic treatment. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, try the following tips:

  • Use pain relief products: Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Apply ice: Placing a cold pack outside your mouth for 10-15 minutes at a time can help numb the area and reduce swelling.
  • Stick to soft foods: Eating soft, easy-to-chew foods like yogurt, soup, and mashed potatoes can help prevent further irritation to the canker sore.

In rare cases, canker sores can be a symptom of a more severe condition, such as herpes or oral cancer. If your canker sores persist for more than two weeks, or if you experience other symptoms such as fever, rash, or difficulty swallowing, seek medical attention immediately.


In conclusion, canker sores are a common but manageable side effect of braces treatment. By preventing and managing them, you can reduce discomfort and ensure a smoother orthodontic experience.

How long do canker sores last from braces?

To deal with canker sores with braces, one can try using orthodontic wax, avoiding acidic and spicy foods, practicing good oral hygiene, rinsing with salt water, and taking over-the-counter pain medication.

Do braces cause canker sores?

Braces do not directly cause canker sores, but they can contribute to the development of canker sores by irritating the mouth or creating minor cuts or abrasions on the mouth’s soft tissues.

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