Emotional Effects of Braces

How Does Having Braces Affect Your Life?

Pinterest Hidden Image

Preparing to undergo orthodontic treatment can be an exciting time. You may be looking forward to no longer feeling as if you have to hide your smile, and you’ll enjoy oral health benefits as your teeth are moved into alignment. The benefits of braces are clear, but you may still have some lingering questions that add to your excitement and apprehension.

Most importantly, how do braces affect your daily life? 

At Robinson Orthodontics, we love seeing our patients enjoy the benefits of a bright new smile. Modern treatments are minimally invasive and require minor but important adjustments to your daily routines.

What to Expect During Your Orthodontic Treatment

Most of our Arizona patients ask us how braces will affect their daily lives. The short answer is that wearing braces does not greatly change how you live your life. You’ll still be able to enjoy your favorite activities and most of your favorite foods. You may even develop new healthy habits that can help you maintain your oral health for years to come.

While undergoing orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to take extra precautions when brushing and flossing, and you may need to invest in a couple of extra tools to boost your oral hygiene routine. You’ll also want to limit your intake of foods that can damage your braces, be extra cautious when participating in physical activities, and take some extra steps to ensure your treatment is progressing. Read up on the mild life changes you can expect during your treatment.

Brush Up on Oral Hygiene Basics

If you don’t pay attention to how and when you practice oral hygiene, you may develop tooth decay, especially in the difficult-to-clean areas around the dental appliances where plaque can calcify into tartar.

After your orthodontist places your braces, you’ll need to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes during each brushing session. This is the normal advised brushing routine for all of our patients, and those habits are even more important while your braces are in place.

Depending on your diet, you may need to brush even more frequently. If you eat sticky foods high in sugar, you may need to brush more often to remove sugar from your teeth. Sugar promotes the growth of bacteria, leading to plaque formation, tartar, and cavities.

Apply gentle pressure as you clean all tooth surfaces thoroughly. Ensure that the edges of your brackets appear shiny, indicating effective cleaning. For areas between gums and brackets, angle your brush towards the gum line and use circular motions. This is where food particles tend to accumulate. After brushing, proceed to floss by sliding the floss under the wires and between each tooth.

Effective flossing is indicated by a squeaky sound as you move the floss back and forth. Around 42% of adults in this country have some degree of gum disease. Gum disease is very prevalent in this country, but it is also completely preventable with proper oral hygiene habits, even when you have braces.

Special Tools You May Need

Best toothbrush for braces

If you haven’t invested in an electric toothbrush yet, this may be a good time to do so. An electric toothbrush can effectively remove buildup around the metal or ceramic brackets of your braces.

Your orthodontist will advise you on any other special tools that you may need to keep your teeth clean. An interdental toothbrush, for example, contains special bristles that make the device look somewhat like a pipe cleaner. This type of toothbrush can be useful when cleaning around your appliance. It can reach around bands and wires that cannot be easily with a traditional toothbrush.

Flossing with braces requires the use of floss threaders. Traditional string floss won’t be able to reach the upper part of your teeth and the gumline. Your orthodontist or another member of the Robison Orthodontics team can recommend specific floss products that can keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout the orthodontic treatment.

A water flosser is an electronic handheld device that shoots out a small jet of water that loosens and removes food particles. A water flosser or waterpik is great for keeping your gums clean and reaching small crevices created by your orthodontic appliances.

More Frequent Appointments

One area of change that you’ll notice is that you will need to stop by our office more frequently. We typically see patients pre- or post-braces twice a year. While you are undergoing treatment with braces, however, we’ll need to check up on your progress.

During visits, we may:

  • Measure your progress
  • Answer questions you have
  • Ask if you are experiencing discomfort
  • Check your appliances for damage
  • Repair bands and wires
  • Clean up any tartar or plaque
  • Make adjustments to your appliances as needed

Regular appointments allow our team to make sure that your treatment follows the projected timeline. If any part of your appliances appears broken or feels “off,” let our care team know. We can make adjustments, replace missing or broken parts, or even reassure you that your braces are working as they should.

Adjustments for Physical Activities

While wearing braces, it’s important to be cautious during physical activity, especially contact sports. If you engage in sports of any kind where there is a risk of taking a blow to the face from an opponent, teammate, ball, or other piece of equipment, it’s crucial to wear a mouthguard. A blow to the face can not only damage your braces but it may also cause cuts inside your mouth. Wearing a mouthguard can help you protect both your braces and your oral health while participating in physical activities.

Dietary Considerations

While nobody enjoys giving up foods and drinks they love, the dietary considerations you’ll make during your time with braces are good for your oral and physical health. Many of the foods that can damage braces or cause oral health problems are also high in sugar and can cause other health issues.

While you can continue to indulge in sweet treats, you’ll need to brush your teeth immediately after. It is also advisable to skip chewy foods that could harm your appliance and become stuck. Items like caramel and hot fudge tend to adhere to your braces, making removal a challenge.

Some hard snacks can damage or break important components of your braces. This could mean you’ll require an appointment at our office just so we can repair that damage. To reduce the chances that your braces timeline is extended due to those delays, avoid eating hard candies, certain nuts, any kind of shells, and other hard objects like bones.

In general, steer clear of foods that require biting into with your front teeth. This motion can bend wires and loosen brackets.

It is also advisable to cut back on the consumption of these foods to preserve your braces and your oral health:

  • Sticky candies like caramels, toffees, or gummy bears
  • Chewy candies, such as taffy or fruit chews
  • Hard candies like lollipops or jawbreakers
  • Popcorn, especially unpopped kernels
  • Hard pretzels or crunchy snacks like chips or nuts
  • Tough meats, such as steak or jerky
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables like raw carrots or apples
  • Sticky desserts like caramel apples or chewy brownies
  • Ice, which can damage teeth and braces if chewed

Safe Foods

In general, foods that are healthy for your body are also safe for your brace. Nutritious foods also leave you feeling better and tend to boost your energy level. By cutting down on junk food, you can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Proteins, veggies, most fruits, and pasta are safe for your braces so long as they are not overly hard or chewy. Some foods are easier to clean off your braces than others. Feel free to stock up on soups, cheeses, yogurt, soft foods, and salads.

How Is Life After Braces? What to Expect After Your Orthodontic Treatment

After Braces

Of course, your life will change in many ways as you complete your orthodontic treatment as well as during your time with braces. Here are some of the changes you should expect after braces.

Prepare to Look Great

Only one in four people show their teeth when smiling, and many claim it’s because they are embarrassed by the appearance of their teeth. Our teeth say a lot about us, and people often judge how attractive and intelligent we are by the appearance of our teeth. In addition to tooth color and straight appearance, dental alignment can affect jaw position and even shape our facial structure.

Some of our patients ask, ‘Are there any long-term effects of braces?’ The answer is that the long-term benefits of braces often affect the appearance of your entire face. A significant overbite or underbite can lead to protruding teeth or misaligned jaws, visibly affecting your appearance. An overbite weakens the chin, while an underbite can make cheeks appear sunken due to a prominent jaw. Correcting these issues reveals your true facial structure and boosts confidence.

Correcting malocclusions can also alter your mouth’s appearance. An open bite, where front teeth jut outward, makes closing the mouth difficult, stretching its appearance. After orthodontic treatment, your mouth shape subtly changes, revealing your true reflection. Lips may become fuller post-treatment, as the alignment of front teeth influences lip shape. Our treatment plans consider the lip-face relationship for balanced results.

Lasting Positive Results

A beautiful smile may even have personal and professional benefits. If you are seeking new romantic relationships, one of the first things a potential partner may notice could be your smile. Considering how difficult second impressions are to make, going in with a beautiful smile can be a great first move.

There are also professional benefits. Many people associate an attractive smile with intelligence and leadership skills. If you are looking for ways to invest in your career, consider investing in an attractive smile. You can couple the benefits of straight teeth with teeth whitening. The cosmetic results will really give you something to smile about while improving how other people perceive you in your personal and professional life.

Better Oral Health

You’ll also benefit from better oral health. Straight teeth are easier to clean and brush. Once your teeth are brought into better alignment, there won’t be any more hard-to-reach areas that can attract bacteria. This means a lower risk of tooth decay and gum disease for the rest of your life as long as you practice good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and exams.

Correcting your bite and your jaw alignment is also critical for your oral health. An aligned jaw and teeth means you can chew comfortably, without the threat of jaw pain or damaged teeth.

Better Overall Health

Poor oral health is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the CDC.

Research has shown that oral health problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay, can contribute to various systemic health issues. Gum disease has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.

One theory linking gum disease and heart disease is that bacteria entering the bloodstream can trigger an inflammatory response in the arterial walls, leading to the formation of plaques. These plaques can narrow and harden the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis, which restricts blood flow to the heart.

As you can see, addressing your oral health with braces can help you begin to make improvements in your overall health, too.

Schedule Your Orthodontic Consultation Today

Schedule Your Orthodontic Consultation Today

Braces can have an incredibly positive affect on your life. Living with braces requires small but important adjustments to your daily routines and oral hygiene habits. By brushing carefully and making dental appointments, you can reduce the chances that your treatment timeline will be delayed. Once you have completed your treatment, you can enjoy all the benefits of a new smile and improved health.

At Robison Orthodontics, we offer advanced treatment options that work quickly and effectively while requiring minimal changes to your daily routine. To learn more about our orthodontic options, contact our office and request a consultation today.




  1. Periodontal Disease in Adults (Age 30 or Older) | National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (n.d.). Www.nidcr.nih.gov. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/periodontal-disease/adults#:~:text=Overall%2C%2042.2%25%20
  2. ‌SWNS. (2023, September 5). Survey finds what people are self-conscious about as adults. Nypost.com; New York Post. https://nypost.com/2023/09/05/survey-finds-what-people-are-self-conscious-about-as-adults/
  3. ‌CDC. (2024, May 22). Promoting Oral Health. Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/hcp/clinical-guidance/how-to-promote-oral-health-for-people-with-diabetes.html