We all want even, straight teeth that do justice to our cheery smile. People have been striving for straight teeth for centuries – archaeologists even discovered mummified ancients with crude metal bands wrapped around individual teeth. Braces are now widely used as an effective tool to straighten teeth, but despite being so common, there is probably a lot you still don’t know about this dental tool.
They aren’t just about looks
Let’s face it – a large number of people who get braces are kids and teenagers who want to improve their appearance by straightening their crooked teeth. And that’s fine – but braces are more than just a simple cosmetic tool.
Crooked teeth not only affect your smile; they can also affect your oral health, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, teeth pushing against each other causing premature wear and tear. By fitting you with a custom brace, an orthodontist can help avoid all these problems, which could otherwise lead to costly corrective treatment at a later stage.
They aren’t just for kids
More and more adults are going in for braces, partly because the technology is allowing these corrective tools to be almost invisible.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the US, the number of adults wearing braces topped one million in 2008, up 25% from 1989.
Ask your orthodontist about lingual orthodontics, which nestle out of sight behind your teeth, and clear plastic aligners, which fit almost invisibly over teeth.
‘Hide and seek’ at mealtime
Fitted with new plastics, metals and ceramics, your mouth will be unused to the feel of the braces. This may also change the way you brush and floss – just be sure that you devote the same care to your teeth, to avoid staining and tooth decay! Orthodontists suggest cleaning your teeth after every meal, so that food particles don’t get stuck in areas of the braces. Using a high fluoride mouthwash in addition to your daily brushing and flossing can be very helpful in reaching all areas that your toothbrush may have missed.
You’ll quickly find that there are some foods that just love hiding in your new braces – chewy sweets such as toffee, corn on the cob or chewing gum can all be a headache to remove from crevices, so you may want to cut down on them. It’ll all be worth it when you unveil that movie star smile…