Men in Braces – Maxwell O’Neill, professional educator for Waterpik

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  Posted by: Dental Design      16th July 2019

Surveys conducted by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) show a rise in the number of adults and young people seeking orthodontic treatment. After gathering data about orthodontics and patient choices, it was reported that females in the 26 to 40 age range were most likely to seek orthodontic treatment. Yet, around 19 per cent of those that responded to the survey last year estimated that half of their adult patients are male.[1]

Of course, modern men are now more knowledgeable about their health. They recognise the dangers of obesity, cholesterol, alcohol and smoking and seem to be significantly more motivated to maintain their health and fitness than their forefathers. Correspondingly, men are more focussed on their image than ever before and a well-groomed appearance seems to define a man in today’s society. Although one may assume that this is about displaying rugged masculinity, looking edgy, sporty or highly polished – a large proportion of men are more interested in portraying an effortless ”laid back” look and for most, looking healthy is the priority.[2]

It could be that we are simply noticing the change in men’s attitudes more. There is increased media coverage and influences from popular celebrities and reality shows but it also appears that society has a newfound acceptance of admiring male beauty. The craze for posting “selfies” on social media for example, may be driving interest and there are even websites where people can secretly capture and rate photos of handsome men as they travel on the tube! Nevertheless, it has been argued that men are becoming more aware of how they are perceived due to the country’s teetering economic situation. Perhaps looking for aspects of their lives that they can define and control such as their health, fitness and style. It has also been suggested that the competitive job market means that men are striving to maintain a strong, healthy and youthful appearance in order to appear more confident and dynamic than the men around them.[3]Certainly, attractive individuals are perceived to be more intelligent, co-operative, trustworthy and better at social interaction. Indeed, studies have confirmed that physically attractive workersare employed sooner, promoted more quickly and earn 10 to 15 per cent more than unattractive people.[4]

Maybe men are simply doing it for themselves. But whatever the reason, men’s grooming is one of the fastest growing sectors in the British beauty market[5]and there has been a marked increase in cosmetic surgical procedures such as nose and ear adjustments and eyelid, eyebrow and facelifts for men.[6]A high proportion of men are also concerned about the look of their teeth and a recent survey found that one in four men would have their teeth straightened if they could change just one thing about their appearance.[7]

The demand for corrective treatment to align and straighten the teeth is strong[8]and it is likely that dental practitioners will see more and more men taking the orthodontic route. However, whether they opt for fixed, removable, lingual or the popular clear braces, it is vital that all patients understand their responsibilities when it comes to oral hygiene. Orthodontic appliances provide additional surfaces for plaque to accumulate and if regular and thorough cleaning is not carried out properly, patients are at risk of developing oral malodour, dental caries and gingival inflammation.[9]Indeed, research indicates that periodontal pathogens in gingival sites are significantly more common in orthodontic patients than non-orthodontic patients[10]and, due to the movement of the teeth, the volume of gingival crevicular fluid and the concentrations of pro-inflammatory mediators can also increase resulting in sustained levels of gingivitis.[11]Consequently, oral hygiene instruction is essential in all cases of orthodontic treatment and the use of adjuncts to access and clean areas that a toothbrush cannot reach shouldalso be reinforced.

As discussed, men seem to be taking more care of themselves, yet it has been reported that 33 per cent of men only brush their teeth once a day and they are even less likely to floss their teeth.[12]It is not just men either. The majority of adults in Great Britain do not floss their teeth daily[13]and cleaning adequately with string floss or interdental brushes is a significant challenge when there is the added complication of orthodontic attachments, wires and brackets to contend with. A quicker, easier and more effective solution, is the Waterpik®Water Flosser. Thisdevice uses water pressure and pulsations and is supplied with a specialised Orthodontic Tip to effectively clear away debris and plaque from orthodontic appliances as well as between the teeth and below the gum line. When added to manual tooth brushing, water flossing is clinically proven to be significantly more effective for the reduction of plaque and bleeding in patients with fixed orthodontic appliances than adding manual floss or brushing only.[14]

As men continue to seek orthodontic treatments to attain a handsome, healthy appearance, dental professionals can equip them with oral health instructions and recommend the most effective tools to ensure that they can achieve the best possible outcomes.


For more information on Waterpik®products please visit Waterpik®products are available from Amazon, Asda, Costco UK,, Superdrug online and in stores across the UK and Ireland.



[1]British Orthodontic Society (BOS). 8th May 2018. New BOS survey released for National Smile Month reveals the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[2]Mintel. Beauty and Personal Care. Holding back the years. June 2018.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[3]Doig S. Men have never been so preoccupied by appearance. The Telegraph, Men, Fashion and Style. 10thMay 2014.

[Accessed 28thMarch 2019]

[4]Fidrmuc J. et al. Beautiful minds: Physical attractiveness and research productivity in economics. July 2018.

[Accessed 28thMarch 2019]

[5]Salon Services. Beautiful Britain 2017 Report. An insight into the UK’s professional hair, beauty and barbering industry.[Accessed 28thMarch 2019]

[6]British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Feb 2018. Plastic Surgery Stats: Dad Bods and Filter Jobs.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[7] October 2016. One in four men would like straighter teeth, survey finds.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[8] ‘TOWIE effect’ causes surge in demand for teeth whitening and braces[[Accessed 28th March 2019]]

[9]Anuwongnukroh N et al. Oral hygiene behaviour during fixed orthodontic treatment. Dentistry 2017, 7:10.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[10]Lee S.M. et al. Prevalence of putative periodontopathogens in subgingival dental plaques from gingivitis lesions in Korean orthodontic patients. J Microbiol. 2005 Jun;43(3): 260-265.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[11]Basaran G. et al. (2006) Interleukin-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels in the human gingival sulcus during orthodontic treatment. Angle Orthod 2006 Sep; 76(5):830-836.

[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[12]YouGov UK. Brushing Teeth survey. 2017.[Accessed 28th March 2019]

[13]The Statistics Portal. Share of individuals who floss their teeth in Great Britain 2017, by age.[Accessed 27thMarch 2019]

[14]Sharma N.C. et al. Effect of dental water jet with orthodontic tip on plaque and bleeding in adolescent patients with fixed orthodontic appliances. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2008 Apr;133(4):565-71. [Accessed 28thMarch 2019]



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