Dear American Girl,

I'm getting braces soon, and I'm so nervous! I want some advice from girls who have braces—is there anything I can do to not be so nervous? And what can I do to adjust to life with braces after I get them?
-Bracing Myself

Here's your advice:

Talk to a parent or older sibling about your braces worries. He or she might be able to give you some helpful ideas that can help you be less nervous.
-Alexa, age 12, Delaware

Make a braces supplies kit for your schoolbag. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a small mirror. You should also include wax, which you can get from your orthodontist. Wax comes in handy if your braces are rubbing against the inside of your mouth.
-Hannah, age 11, Ohio

For the first few days after you get your braces or get them adjusted, eat soft foods such as applesauce, pudding, and yogurt.
-Haley, age 12, Kentucky

Once you get braces, you won't be able to chew gum anymore, because it can stick to your brackets. If you're used to chewing gum, try breath mints instead. Mints shouldn't damage your braces.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Texas

Make a list of the positive things about having braces, such as having nice, straight teeth one day and choosing fun colors for the bands. If you focus on the positive instead of the negative, it'll make getting braces a lot easier.
-Harley, age 11, Massachusetts

Ask a parent to call your orthodontist for a list of foods you won't be able to eat once your braces are on, such as caramel and corn on the cob. For a few weeks before your appointment, slowly eliminate those foods. When you get your braces, it'll be easier to adjust to life without those foods.
-Katie, age 12, Pennsylvania

The night before you get your braces, do things that will calm you down, such as reading a book or going for a walk. Doing soothing activities might quiet your jitters.
-Anna, age 10, Illinois

Before I got braces, I was nervous, too. So I decided to buy some supplies for my braces that made me happy, such as a colorful new toothbrush and bubble-gum-flavored floss. Those things helped me get excited about my braces.
-Katie, age 12, South Carolina

When I got my braces, I brought my favorite stuffed animal along. It helped me feel more comfortable, and my orthodontist told me that lots of kids of all ages bring along stuffed animals.
-Briana, age 13, California

You can choose fun colors for your braces. Pick some bright colors that will go with your favorite outfits. Just think—after your braces are off, you'll have a pretty smile!
-Dalia, age 12, New Jersey

Talk to your friends who already have braces. Ask them questions and have them share any tips they might have for making life with braces easier. It'll also make you feel good to talk to others who can understand your feelings.
-Sachie, age 8, Japan

Remind yourself that braces can be fun. I love changing the colors of my braces to match a holiday, season, or upcoming activity (I like to wear my school's team colors on my braces for a big game).
-Carolyn, age 11, New Hampshire

Just remember—braces or not, you're still the same girl.
-Alana, age 10, New York

Before I got braces, I was nervous that I would be teased at school. When I went to school the next day, I got lots of compliments. Everyone loved the colors I had picked out. My braces have actually made me smile more.
-Catelynn, age 13, Oklahoma

Talk to your orthodontist about your worries. That's what he or she is there for!
-An American Girl fan, age 11, South Carolina

I got braces about a year ago. After a couple weeks, I forgot I even had them! Just think about it—lots of people around the world have braces, so you're not the only one. Before you know it, your braces will come off and you'll have an awesome smile.
-Sarah, age 11, New Jersey

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