Shortly after my 40th birthday, I was lying on a dental chair, my mouth held open with clamps, while an orthodontist placed braces on my teeth. After seeing my jagged bottom row during Zoom meetings and in impromptu videos my kids took of me, I decided to look into getting clear aligners. During that consultation, I learned my bite problems were severe, so I needed to get the traditional metal brackets. I opted for new, behind-the-teeth braces called InBrace that were quite discreet since they were on the tongue-facing side of my teeth.
Most people couldn’t tell I had them, and I loved that I could smile widely without worrying about my braces being visible in pictures when I was a bridesmaid at my brothers’ wedding or when I took a headshot for work.
Although I looked into braces for cosmetic reasons, having straight teeth is about more than aesthetics. Straight teeth are easier to clean and make chewing and digesting food easier. They can also prevent teeth from chipping or cracking over time and alleviate jaw pain in people with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). “By aligning the teeth, a patient is less likely to wear down their teeth and need restorative treatment, less likely to develop gum disease, and less prone to cavities in hard areas to clean,” Karen Conn, DMD, MS, and board-certified orthodontists at Bryn Mawr Orthodontics, tells Verywell Health.
If you’re considering braces, you’re in good company: The American Association of Orthodontics reported a 92.5% growth in orthodontic patients in 2021)1
. “My practice has had more adults come in for teeth alignment issues than orthodontists have seen in past decades. It’s a trend that has been rising for the past ten years,” says Bruce Tasios, DDS, MDSc, and an orthodontist in private practice in Ontario, Canada.
Even though more adults are investing in braces or aligners than ever, the process of straightening your teeth can feel embarrassing at times. My braces gave me a noticeable lisp, and I often worried about getting food stuck in the braces when dining out. Thankfully, many products made the experience easier and helped relieve the initial discomfort I had when I first got them on. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, here are the must-have items to keep in your braces survival kit.
Colgate Peroxyl Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse
I had braces as a teen years ago, so I thought getting them this time wouldn’t be too painful. I had given birth to four kids by this point, so my pain meter must’ve changed, right? Wrong. During the first three weeks with my lingual braces, my mouth felt like a giant canker sore. My teeth were throbbing, and my tongue felt shredded. Whether you have lingual braces, traditional metal brackets, or clear aligners, the first two to three weeks are brutal because of the pressure on your teeth and the foreign material rubbing up against the sensitive skin on your cheeks and tongue.
One of the ways I found relief from the pain was by using this antiseptic rinse.