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The Effects of Braces on Speech and Eating

Braces are a form of popular orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. While they have a highly successful track record in achieving this goal, braces can alter the temporary effects of speech and eating patterns. Understanding these effects, however, can help a person better adapt to the adversities of wearing braces. One of the more visible impacts of braces might bring changes in speech. Because they limit the movement of your tongue and lips, newly installed braces may make pronouncing some sounds difficult. Particularly affected are those sounds for which the tongue must touch the roof of the mouth, like “t,” “d,” and “l.” Some develop a slight lisp as well.

Thankfully, most of the speech irregularities associated with braces are fairly short-lived and improve as the mouth becomes accustomed to the braces. Any speech exercises that are recommended by the orthodontist should be done on a regular basis as well because these exercises help the tongue and lips in making speech clearer. And, of course, for anyone wearing braces, the homework is also pretty important.

Other than affecting speech, braces will also affect eating habits. For example, it can become quite difficult to bite and chew food with braces installed, especially in the first few days after the braces are put on or tightened. The teeth or gums might hurt so much that they do not allow one to eat properly.

Your orthodontist may suggest that the level of discomfort experienced from eating with the braces should be minimized by restricting food intake to only soft foods or those that require minimal to no chewing. Focusing on liquids may also help during the first few days of wearing dental braces. Rinsing with warm salt water can reduce pain and swelling since gums can be tender during the start of dental brace treatment. He may also encourage cutting up food into smaller bite-size pieces, making them less burdensome to chew. Hard, sticky, and crunchy foods will all work to damage braces, so they should be limited.

As someone gets more accustomed to the braces, the eating patterns usually normalize. One should, however, continue to maintain high levels of oral hygiene and continue with recommendations around dieting from one’s orthodontist if the course of orthodontic treatment is to be successful.

In conclusion, braces may result in a temporary disturbance in a patient’s use of speech and eating. Speech difficulty may occur initially, but most patients adapt over time through speech therapy exercises. One may have some adjustments to make while eating with braces. The application of soft food and maintaining healthy oral hygiene may minimize discomfort. Generally, the long-term benefits of braces for a straight smile outweigh these relatively short-term challenges.

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