Orthodontic treatment, such as getting braces, is a common rite of passage for many children and teenagers. However, adults too are increasingly opting for braces to correct dental issues and improve their smiles. But the question often arises: are braces better for kids than adults? In this article, we’ll delve into the differences, benefits, and considerations for both age groups, and provide practical advice for those with braces, such as lunch ideas for kids with braces.

Understanding Orthodontic Treatment

Before we compare braces for kids and adults, it’s essential to understand what braces do and why they might be needed. Braces are orthodontic devices used to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. They work by applying continuous pressure over time to slowly move teeth into the desired position.

Orthodontic treatment can address a variety of dental issues, including:

  • Crowded or crooked teeth
  • Overbites or underbites
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • Disorders of the jaw joints

With the advancements in orthodontic technology, there are now various types of braces available, catering to different needs and preferences.

The Case for Kids

The Benefits of Early Intervention

One significant advantage that children have when it comes to braces is the benefit of early intervention. As kids grow, their jaws are still developing, which makes it easier for orthodontists to influence the teeth’s position and jaw alignment. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of 7.

Types of Braces for Kids

The best braces for kids are those that can withstand their active lifestyles and are effective in treating their specific orthodontic issues. Here are a few types of braces commonly recommended for children:

  • Traditional metal braces: These are the most common type and are highly effective for severe cases.
  • Ceramic braces: Less visible than metal braces, these work similarly but blend in with the teeth’s natural color.
  • Invisalign for teens: A series of clear, removable aligners that are virtually invisible, suitable for teenagers with mild to moderate alignment issues.

Psychological and Social Considerations

Children are in a formative stage of social and psychological development. Having straight teeth can boost self-esteem and prevent bullying or teasing. It’s also easier for children to adapt to wearing braces, as it’s quite common among their peers.

The Adult Perspective

Challenges and Advantages

While adults can successfully undergo orthodontic treatment, they face different challenges compared to children. Adult bones have stopped growing, which can make orthodontic adjustments take longer. Additionally, some adults may have conditions like gum disease that can complicate treatment.

However, adults tend to be more motivated and compliant with their orthodontic treatment, which can contribute to successful outcomes. They also have more options, such as lingual braces or Invisalign, which are less noticeable and better suited to professional environments.

Considering Lifestyle and Commitment

Adults need to consider their lifestyle and readiness to commit to orthodontic treatment. Braces require regular maintenance, dietary restrictions, and frequent dental visits. Adults with busy schedules must ensure they can adhere to these requirements.

Braces Effectiveness Across Ages

Adaptability of the Teeth and Jaw

Children’s adaptability is a clear advantage when it comes to braces effectiveness. Their teeth and jaws respond more quickly and favorably to orthodontic treatment. For adults, the process can be slower and may require additional interventions, such as periodontal treatment.

Duration of Treatment

The duration of treatment generally depends on the complexity of the case rather than age. However, because children’s bones are still developing, their treatment may be completed faster. Adults may have to wear braces for a longer period to achieve similar results.

Long-term Results

For both children and adults, the long-term results of orthodontic treatment can be excellent, provided they follow their orthodontist’s guidance and maintain good oral hygiene. Retainers are typically used post-treatment to ensure that teeth remain in their new position.

Practical Tips for Living with Braces

Regardless of age, living with braces requires some adjustments, particularly when it comes to diet and oral hygiene.

Oral Hygiene with Braces

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for the success of orthodontic treatment. Brushing after every meal, using floss threaders, and regular dental check-ups are essential for keeping teeth and gums healthy.

Diet Adjustments

Those with braces need to avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can damage the braces. For kids, this can be challenging, especially when it comes to school lunches and snacks.

Lunch Ideas for Kids with Braces

Here are some braces-friendly lunch ideas that are both nutritious and easy to eat:

  • Soft sandwiches with tender meats like turkey or chicken
  • Pasta salads with plenty of cooked vegetables
  • Smoothies or yogurt for a healthy treat
  • Soft fruits like bananas or peeled apples
  • Steamed veggies or mashed potatoes for a side



Braces can be beneficial at any age, but there are distinct advantages to starting orthodontic treatment during childhood due to the flexibility of growing jaws and teeth. For adults, the commitment might be more substantial, but the rewards are just as significant. Regardless of when you or your child may start wearing braces, the outcome of a healthier, more beautiful smile is worth the effort.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether braces are right for you or your child is to consult with an orthodontist. They can provide personalized advice based on individual dental needs and lifestyle considerations.

Embracing the journey with braces, whether as a child or an adult, can lead to a lifetime of smiles and improved oral health. With the right care and a little patience, braces can be a transformative experience at any age.