Dental braces, used to correct alignment of teeth, do not improve the mental well being and self-esteem of its users later in life, finds a study. Thousands of children have orthodontic work done each year because of a widespread belief in the dental profession that braces or orthodontics improved psychological well-being.

Bill Shaw and researchers at the University of Manchester studied around 1,000 Welsh schoolchildren aged 10-11 for around 20 years till they were in their 30s in 2001.

Those who had received treatment such as braces had better tooth alignment and were happier with their teeth, but this did not have an impact on their self-esteem or emotional health compared with those who hadn’t received any treatment. Previous research published by the same team found that not having orthodontic work done as a child did not have an adverse effect on their future dental health.