Your Guide to Orthodontics When Sick | Graf Orthodontics
Being sick with braces

Your Guide to Orthodontics When Sick

You’re committed to your smile transformation – through the ups and downs, in sickness and in health, right? After all, your beautiful end results will be worth the wait!

So what happens if you catch a bug or wake up feeling under the weather during treatment? “Is it just allergies, or am I coming down with something?” 

Your friends at Graf Orthodontics are here to answer FAQs about being sick with braces or clear aligners, and give tips on how to handle your orthodontic commitments when you’re not feeling so great.

Good hygiene = Healthy recovery

When you’re sick, maintaining good oral hygiene is even more crucial. Your mouth is a direct route to the rest of your body, so a clean mouth is the key to a healthy body. 

You’re already keeping your braces or clear aligners pretty clean (right?!) – but on your sick days, it’s important to go the extra mile. Maintaining clean braces or aligners can help you kick the sickness much sooner than if you continue putting the same sickness-causing bacteria back in your mouth. 


  • If you have braces, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean around your brackets and wires thoroughly after each meal. While you may typically brush your teeth twice a day when you’re feeling well, brushing your teeth three to four times a day when sick can make the difference.
  • If you have Spark™ clear aligners, be sure to disinfect your aligners once daily in a cleaning solution (like Retainer Brite or a homemade mix of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water).

When should I change my toothbrush after being sick?

It’s important that you replace your current toothbrush with a fresh, clean toothbrush once the sickness is over. The bacteria that caused your sickness can continue growing within toothbrush bristles and reintroduce the illness back into your body while your body is trying to heal.

Experts advise that you replace your toothbrush once you start feeling better, in order to “make sure lingering bacteria doesn’t lead to reinfection or get passed on to family members” (Cleveland Clinic).

Should i cancel my orthodontist appointment if i have a cold?

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re not feeling well, please give us a call to reschedule your appointment. We would rather you rest up and visit us when you’re feeling better!

If you have cold or flu symptoms, we want to help prevent you from feeling worse and prevent the spread of germs. Rescheduling your appointment is better for you and for our team.

If you have questions about if you should move forward with your Spark trays, please call and we will direct you.

Stay hydrated!

Fluids are your friends! It’s crucial that you stay hydrated when sick. Hydration helps the body fight off infections and prevents dehydration, which, consequently, helps prevent symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

Staying hydrated is essential for healing from your illness, but also for maintaining clean teeth with braces or clear aligners. 

Proper hydration promotes saliva production, which helps prevent dry mouth and reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking water also helps rid your teeth of food particles and debris that can otherwise contribute to bacteria buildup, plaque and tartar.

Tip: Try to keep a bottle of water with you at all times! Consider buying a new reusable water bottle or stylish tumbler in your favorite color. This may give you the motivation you need to keep sippin’ and stay hydrated.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re on your team and we’re here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your orthodontic treatment, or questions about how to handle your sickness with braces or clear aligners. 

If you experience any “orthodontic emergencies”, like a loose wire, broken bracket, or something just doesn’t feel right – simply reach out to us and let us know. We’ll tell you how to handle the situation at home while you’re sick, or work out a way for you to visit us safely.

Take it easy!

Remember, it’s okay to take it easy when you’re unwell. Your body needs time to recover, and regaining your health is the first priority. Take it as a chance to binge-watch your favorite shows, cuddle with your pet, and give yourself a break!

We hope these tips help you breeze through your treatment – through sickness and health. 

Haven’t scheduled your complimentary consultation with Dr. Graf, Dr. Cloud or Dr. Digney yet? Request a complimentary consultation at one of our conveniently-located orthodontist offices in Bossier City, Many, Natchitoches, Alexandria, Minden or Shreveport.

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