Too many people believe that braces are just for teenagers. And what’s worse is they believe if they missed out during their teenage years, then the time to get braces has passed. But adult braces are more common than people believe, and many women in the UK are choosing to get braces at later ages. According to the NHS website nearly one million Brits have them and the number of adults with braces is higher than ever. We teamed up with Queens Gate Orthodontics in Kensington, London to look at why.
There are many reasons adults may want braces. Although the suggested age for them is between 12 and 13 years old, perfecting a smile at any age is important. Part of the reason women in the UK have been opting for braces is an American influence. Every American celebrity we see on TV is fit with a perfect, shiny white smile. The American obsession with perfect teeth has permeated British culture, especially in the internet age. Everyone with an WiFi connection and a laptop can watch the reality shows, sitcoms, and Hollywood movies featuring all those women with perfectly aligned teeth.
Another reason women are opting for adult braces is the stigma placed on Britons about their teeth. Cultures across the world consider the English to have the worst teeth, and as many Britons travel this can be an area of self-consciousness. The £360 million a year now spent by the English on aesthetic dental care is at an all-time high and much of this is spent by adults on “train track” metal braces. While these braces are the most uncomfortable and painful way to fix your teeth (think awkward teenage years), they are the most effective as well.
Women in the UK are also opting for braces because they are a status symbol. Braces are only covered by the NHS if you are under eighteen and can become quite expensive as an adult. When looking at braces, most adult women opt for private practices that charge, according the NHS, £2000 to £2500 and costs can sky rocket from there. Fixing your teeth as an adult is financially impractical for most; affording and installing braces is a new form of luxury that sets some women apart.
Finally there are some women who have their teeth aligned as adults because of actual health concerns. Misalignment can cause serious headaches and other issues, and can go unchecked as a child. Many women decide to fix the problems their teeth give them later in life.