Living With Braces: Four Tips For Teens And Preteens

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Having to get braces as a teen or preteen can be a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse. You're glad that, in a year or two, your teeth will be straight and beautiful. But at the same time, you have to face being a metal mouth for months on end! Braces surely do present a number of challenges, but luckily, there are a few ways you can make living with braces a lot simpler.

Carry a "braces kit" with you.

Find a cute little makeup bag or a pouch that you love, and fill it with dental care essentials. You should include a toothbrush, a mini tube of toothpaste (the kind your dentist typically gives out as a sample works well), floss, some braces wax, and maybe even a little bottle of mouthwash. Carry this kit with you everywhere you go -- from school to your friends' house. This way, if you're ever surprised by a braces problem or something stuck in your teeth, you can just excuse yourself to the bathroom and take care of it immediately.

Be proud of your braces.

If you are shy and quiet about your braces, others will sense that you're embarassed and may also be a bit awkward about your braces. On the other hand, if you develop a nonchalant attitude and are proud of your braces, your friends will probably just accept them and move on. When you first get your braces, don't try to hide them. Show them off proudly to your friends -- even if you're not exactly feeling proud inside. 

Always wear your rubber bands.

If you have hooks on your braces for rubber bands, do not forget to keep the rubber bands in place! Forgetting to wear your bands will not only slow down the tooth straightening process, meaning you have to wear your braces for longer, but it will also leave those little hooks exposed, allowing them to poke you in the cheek more easily. Carry rubber bands with you and keep a good supply of them on hand so you can replace them when they pop off.

Tell friends and family members about your food restrictions.

Really, the only things your dentist won't want you to eat with braces are really crunchy foods -- like pretzels -- and really sticky foods -- like caramels. But as you adapt to braces, you're likely to discover other foods that you personally have difficulty eating. You would not want to show up to a family party just to find that the meal consists of all "difficult" foods! So be upfront about telling your friends and family members about the foods you simply can't enjoy for a while.