There are many variables that affect the speed at which braces move teeth. As a patient, you have no control over how your age or genes affect treatment speed. You do; however, have a say when it comes to elements such as oral health and habits, both of which affect the speed of treatment.

Unless you want to drastically slow down treatment time, you should avoid the following actions.

Smoking During Your Treatment

If you are a full-time smoker, it obviously won't be easy to quit. However, you should be aware of the effect that smoking has on orthodontic treatment. Smoking can adversely affect your oral health in many ways. For one, it reduces saliva production. Saliva protects your gums and teeth from bacteria, and helps prevent the formation of plaque and tartar.

The nicotine in cigarettes reduces the blood flow to your mouth. It also inhibits your immune system's ability to fight infection. If tartar were to cause gum disease in your mouth then, your teeth, gums and bone would struggle to combat it. The less available blood, the fewer cells and nutrients available to combat infection. This will slow down your treatment.

Failing to Practice Good Oral Hygiene

It is difficult to clean your teeth while wearing braces. This makes it all the more important to brush and floss diligently during your treatment. Since braces move teeth through bone and alter the structure of your mouth, healthy gums and bone are essential. A mouth teeming with bad bacteria will heal more slowly, meaning progress will be much slower.

Taking Aspirin to Relieve Pain

Many patients take painkillers to relieve the pain of orthodontic treatment. However, research has shown that aspirin slows down the rate at which braces move teeth through bone. Instead of aspirin, take paracetamol instead as this has little effect on orthodontic treatment.

Eating the Wrong Foods

Eating especially sticky or hard foods while wearing your braces is a fast way to slow down your orthodontic treatment. The time needed to mend and replace broken wires, brackets and elastics can add up. Consistently eating foods that harm your braces then, could add months to your treatment.

Ignoring Your Orthodontist's Instructions

Your orthodontist knows best. Remember, they have probably treated hundreds, if not thousands of patients. Therefore, show up to your appointments on time, don't cancel appointments, wear your elastics as recommended and go for regular checkups.

If you work with your orthodontist and communicate with them throughout your treatment, you stand a much better chance of success. You may even finish your treatment sooner than expected!