Study Reveals Impact Of Orthodontic Treatment On Adolescents’ Diets

Study Reveals Impact Of Orthodontic Treatment On Adolescents’ Diets
Posted on 05/27/2014

Our Monroe, WA orthodontic practice strives to help our patients obtain the perfect, beautiful smiles they want and deserve using the most advanced and effective care possible. Dr. Maxwell treats children, adolescents and adults using the latest available orthodontic treatment options such as:

There has always been the question of whether or not orthodontic treatment harms the diet of adolescents. Patients must make some dietary adjustments while undergoing orthodontic treatment, as biting down and chewing certain types of foods - like chewy, crunchy and hard foods - can cause discomfort while the teeth are moving into their new, desired positions. Teeth can be sensitive and sore when braces are first placed, as well as during treatment, as the teeth are gradually moving. When archwires are tightened during routine appointments throughout a patient's course of treatment, the teeth are often sensitive for a day or so due to the additional pressure being placed on the teeth. Despite the minor discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment, here at Dr. Max Orthodontics we never want our orthodontic treatment to be uncomfortable or negatively impact our patients.

A study that was conducted by researchers from The Institute of Dentistry UK in February of this year to determine the extent to which fixed orthodontics impacted dietary impact and behavior in adolescents produced some interesting results on this topic.

Here Is How The Researchers Studied The Topic

The study evaluated the effects of orthodontic treatment on dietary intake, body fat or body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage of over 100 patients. The BMI and fat percentage measures were recorded at baseline. Then, over the course of the study they were measured, specifically at week 1, week 4 to 6 and 3 months. The patients varied in ages, from 11 to 14 with the mean age being 13.1 years. The participants were divided into a test group and a control group. The test group started orthodontic treatment and the control group did not. Both groups completed questionnaires to measure the frequency of their food intake and their socio-demographic status.

Study Results

At the conclusion of the study, there were three major observations noted. Considering the test group and the control group were comparable at baseline, these patterns developed over the duration of the study:

  • Low Impact on Dietary Behavior: In the test group, the impact of dietary behavior decreased as time passed from 1 week to 6 weeks and at 3 months.
  • Healthy Diet: Nearly 80% of the orthodontic patients reported that they ate a more healthy diet. The patients also ate less sticky and hard foods as they were instructed.
  • Reduced Pain Level: The pain levels experienced by the test group decreased after 2 to 3 days. Additionally, the test patients who were obese saw a decrease in their BMI and reported positive impacts on their diets.

Overall, this study found was that there were no significant, negative effect on dietary intake or behavior, BMI or fat percentage during the first 3 months of orthodontic treatment.

Our adolescent patients and their parents can be assured that receiving orthodontic treatment will not harm their overall health. However, if at any time you think that the treatment is having a negative impact, let us know and we will do our best to find a solution. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child we encourage you to contact us today and make an appointment for your first exam, which we offer at no cost to you!