Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by teagan from AL. teagan Wonders, “how come most people have to get braces” Thanks for WONDERing with us, teagan!

Do you have braces? If not, chances are that you know someone who does. Even if you don’t have braces right now, you might need them one day.

Different kids feel different ways about braces. Some can’t wait to get them because they think they’re neat and know that they’ll improve their smile. Other kids worry about how braces will change how they look. Many are also concerned they may be uncomfortable.

It’s okay to have these worries, but kids who get braces often find they had no reason to be concerned. Braces are just tools that special dentists—called orthodontists—use to correct the alignment of your teeth. Not all teeth grow straight, and this is natural. But braces can help straighten teeth so that they can do their job as well as possible.

Years ago, braces were made of thick metal that was very noticeable. Today, though, they’re much more advanced. The metal used to make braces nowadays is much thinner, resulting in smaller braces.

Sometimes you can get braces that are clear or the same color as your teeth. They even make braces that go on the back of your teeth. With these advances, braces aren’t nearly as noticeable today as they used to be.

Of course, if you want to be noticed, you can be! The rubber bands that come with braces can now be found in all sorts of wild and crazy colors. Many kids enjoy making a fashion statement with their braces!

What do braces actually do to your teeth? The metal wires put steady pressure on your teeth to move them slowly over time. The rubber bands help to adjust the alignment of your teeth. Working together, the wires and rubber bands straighten your teeth and line them up to improve your bite.

How long do people have to wear braces? It depends on your teeth and how much realignment they need. Most kids have to wear braces for only a couple of years or so.

After your braces are removed, you may have to wear a retainer for a while. This is a hard plastic mouth guard that makes sure your teeth don’t go back to their original places. After a while, your teeth will settle into their new locations and you’ll be able to ditch the retainer and smile about it!

While you have braces, it’s especially important to make sure that you take good care of your teeth. All that metal and rubber in your mouth can make it easy for food to hide in places you’d normally be able to clean easily. If you have trouble cleaning your teeth, talk to the orthodontist. There are special tools available that you can use to make sure your pearly whites stay pearly white!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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