Do you think braces are only an orthodontic treatment for children or teens? Think again. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, about one million Americans over the age of 18 wear braces. Whether you’re returning for more rounds of treatment or you’re new to the experience, it’s not an easy process. Here’s a few ways to help you live with your adult braces.

1. Pretend they don’t exist. Seriously, don’t spend hours in front of the mirror analyzing every wire. If you think about your braces too much it’ll drive you crazy.

2. Eat food carefully. It’s better to break apart small pieces of your food rather than break your braces. Besides, if you munch down directly, bits of food are ten times more likely to get caught in the front brackets.

3. Always have a toothbrush handy. Add it to your mental checklist in the morning: keys, wallet, phone, toothbrush. It may seem like a stretch, but when you’re wearing braces it’s important to brush or floss after every meal, not just in the morning and at night. Trust us, food is bound to get trapped in your wires throughout the day.

4. Be confident. It may sound cliche, but it’s the truth. If you feel good about yourself and your smile, you’ll look good too. Remember, this short-term experience is for a long-term goal; achieving the smile of your dreams!