Sometimes, just for funsies, I like to peruse the search engine terms that bring hungry seekers of information to my blog.

Yes, we bloggers can do that. Don’t worry, we can’t see who your are, but we know what magic combination of words you typed into your search engine bar to eventually land here.

Jeepers, Shaggy, there sure are a lot of women out there trying to figure out how to remove their gel nail polish manicures at home. (Don’t do it ladies! Get the gel polish professionally removed at the same salon where you had them applied. Trust me.)

There are also a lot of bakers out there who are tired of mangling their brownies (the food, not the tiny Girl Scouts). My tip on how to cleanly slice brownies is probably my all-time favorite kitchen hack.

And apparently there are quite a few folks out there looking for pictures of feet. Ooooooooh-kay then.

But the search phrase that really grabbed my attention today was this:

“my parents don’t think braces are worth it”

Oh honey.

I feel you.

Braces are a big deal. And they are outrageously expensive. My first car cost less than the braces we just put on my oldest son’s teeth. Particularly in today’s economy, I can definitely see how some parents might not think braces are a good return on their investment. If the choice is between a roof over your head and straighter teeth, it’s a no brainer.

In my humble opinion though, (if all other basic needs are met), braces are “worth it.”

I had braces when I was a kid. It was a priority for my mom, and I’m so glad. (Thank you Mom!)

Of course, I had a pretty messed up grill at the get-go. My mom was probably just tired of me spraying her with my saliva Sylvester-the-Cat-style whenever I talked.

Yep. Lookit that. That’s what we in the South call “summer teeth” (summer here, summer there). Get it? Some are here…some are there? It’s more of an audio daily double.

Yes indeedy. I was that kid who could totally eat corn on the cob through a picket fence.

Not very easy on the eyes, let’s just be honest.

Look. There are definitely worse things in life than malocclusion (a bite that doesn’t line up correctly).

But all vanity aside, my mom had the foresight to know that good teeth and good health go hand in hand.

It must have been a huge sacrifice for her to afford braces for both me and my little brother. She was a single mother, and she worked full time, so I can’t even imagine how she would have gotten us to all the appointments, let alone how she paid for such a thing.

I was in 8th grade when I got my braces, and I had them until the summer after 9th grade. Looking back at pictures, they didn’t seem to interfere much with my day to day life.


But once those braces came off, I had a much nicer smile and I think I probably smiled more often (and more naturally) too.

To this day, people still tell me that I have a pretty smile. And the older I get, the more important that is to me.

Kids, you can’t possibly relate to this now, but there will come a day when you look in the mirror and what you see reminds you of that scene in the 3rd Indiana Jones movie when the greedy old grail-seeking dude drinks from the wrong chalice and his face melts off. Yeah, that. And when that happens, you will be glad you at least have a pretty smile to offset the rest of the gore known as aging.

If your parents still don’t think braces are worth it, tell them this:

By treating moderate or severe malocclusion, the teeth are easier to clean and there is less risk of tooth decay and periodontal diseases. Treatment eliminates strain on the teeth, jaws, and muscles, which lessens the risk of breaking a tooth and may reduce symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders. (source)

And according to the American Academy of Periodontology:

…people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (also called heart disease). And one study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels. (source)

So, braces can improve your overall health. That’s a pretty good selling point for parents. Try that approach.

Your teeth are easier to reposition when you are a child or teen than when you are an adult, so if possible, get your braces while you’re young. Your treatment time will be shorter, and thus less expensive. But you’re never too old to get braces. I know several adults who didn’t get braces until they were in their 50s. Of course, by then, they needed the braces to help make room for all their dental implants, but still. My point is, you’re never too old to have a nice smile.

My family is fortunate enough to have dental insurance, which helps, not as much as I had hoped, but it’s better than nothing.  My orthodontist offers an interest-free payment plan which means my monthly payments are pretty reasonable. And your initial evaluation appointment will most likely be free.

If your parents are still not sure, maybe this will help:

before after braces argument


Pretty darn compelling visual, if you ask me.

Alright kids. That’s all I’ve got today. Study hard. Play outside every day. Save your money. And only floss the ones you want to keep.

Yours truly,
Leslie (aka “The Bearded Iris”)

PS – my comments are closed for the summer, but you can chat me up on Twitter and Facebook.