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Mouth ulcers

In older teenage brace wearers (16+)

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Many teenagers need braces to fix crowded or crooked teeth and jawbones that don’t meet properly. Teeth that do not fit together properly are harder to keep clean, are more likely to fall out early, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles. [8]

Although as a teenager, you may have been wearing your braces for a while already, it’s a good idea to brush up on how to look after them – and your teeth – properly. Plus, once your permanent braces have been taken off, it is likely that you will need to wear a retainer (removable brace) at night for a while, to help make sure that your teeth stay in the right position.

How long you need to wear braces depends on three key things:

  • How quickly your mouth responds – some people take only 12 months to fix their teeth, others take longer.
  • Making sure that you keep your braces and teeth clean and take care of them properly.
  • Making sure that you go to all your follow-up appointments with your orthodontist (as well as regular check-ups with your dentist) and follow their advice.

When wearing a brace, you have to be careful with the foods you eat and you'll have to spend a few extra minutes cleaning your braces each day and after meals. But you’ll still be able to sing, play a musical instrument, smile, play sports (though you will need a mouthguard for some sports) and of course, kiss. Your friends will get used to you having braces more quickly than you think

What are the main causes?

If you have a new brace, although actually having the brace fitted should not be painful, it will take a few days to get used to wearing it. This is the time when mouth ulcers and sore spots are most likely to develop, as your brace rubs against your cheeks, lips and gums. If you have been wearing your fitted brace for a while, you’ll know that your orthodontist will need to check your braces every 4–6 weeks, to replace worn-out rubber bands, check on the progress of your teeth, and make adjustments to the wires to make sure your teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Mouth ulcers may also occur after these adjustments have taken place.

What are the symptoms?

A mouth ucler is:

  1. Painful
  2. round or oval in shape
  3. white, red, yellow or grey in colour
  4. swollen arount the edge

Most mouth ulcers appear on the:

  1. inside of the lips
  2. inside of the cheeks
  3. gums

What are my treatment options?

If any parts of your brace are causing you pain and discomfort, you may want to try using a painkiller such as ibuprofen or paracetamol for a day or two. If you’re getting sore spots and mouth ulcers too, the dentist or orthodontist can give you some clear wax to place over the part of the brace that is causing the problem, but don’t use it at night. [7] You can also use a mouth ulcer gel at any time of the day or night (but no more than every 3 hours) or a weak solution of warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt per cup of water) may help to ease the irritation.

What can I do about it?

The main goals for treating your mouth ulcer are to relieve your pain, reduce inflammation and help fight infection. There are two products in the bonjela range, designed to help you feel more comfortable while wearing your brace and help fight infection. They are all suitable for people over the age of 16.

bonjela Adult– sugar-free, clear, almost colourless, aniseed-flavoured gel for the relief of pain, discomfort and inflammation caused by common mouth ulcers and cold sores. It helps to fight minor mouth infection and aid healing of sore spots and ulcers due to dentures and braces.

(Medicine for adults over the age of 16) 

Always read the label.

Download patient information leaflet

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bonjela Cool Mint Gel– sugar-free mint-flavoured gel for the relief of pain, discomfort and inflammation caused by common mouth ulcers and cold sores. It helps to fight minor mouth infection and aid healing of sore spots and ulcers due to dentures and braces.

(Medicine for adults over the age of 16)

Always read the label.

Download patient information leaflet

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Designed to relieve pain, bonjela Complete Plus is for adults over the age of 16.

bonjela Complete Plus – for the treatment of 1 to 2 minor mouth ulcers ONLY (<1cm) as well as small wounds of the oral cavity. It is a gel which once applied in the mouth forms a fine and soft film which is intended to protect the wound from external things such as food, soothe pain and aid healing.

(Medical device for adults over the age of 16)

 Always read the label and instructions.

Download patient information leaflet

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Top Tips

  1. Because your brace provides food with more places to hide, you'll need to be extra careful with your hygiene routine. Food may build up in the brackets and in between your teeth, so you will need to carefully clean them to remove it. Make sure you brush your teeth and brace twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 

  2. If you don't look after your teeth while you're wearing your brace, they may become permanently stained.

  3. Although you'll still be able to eat most of the foods you were eating before, you will need to take care not to damage your brace. Stay away from chewy foods like toffees, marshmallows and chewing gum, and hard foods like crusty bread. You may need to cut up hard food like apples, but you'll still be able to eat them.

  4. Avoid fizzy drinks and natural fruit juices as these are often high in sugar and can be acidic, which can cause tooth decay and stain the brackets.

  5.  Continue to visit your regular dentist while you are having treatment, to make sure that your teeth and mouth stay healthy.

Want to know more?

Find out more about bonjela

Find out more about bonjela Cool Mint Gel

Find out more about bonjela Complete Plus

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Find out more about the five products within the bonjela range – effective pain relief from mouth ulcers.

Tips & Advice

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With over 40 years of experience, you can trust bonjela for effective mouth ulcer treatments – click here to view our top tips for everyday mouth care, how to apply bonjela, and when to see your GP.

Conditions

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Click here to learn more about mouth ulcers – what causes them and how to treat them, as well as teething and cold sores.