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Young children with braces up by more than a quarter
In 2015, 10,171 children under nine years of age visited an orthodontist in Belgium to be fitted with braces, an increase of 27% in five years, report the Mediahuis newspapers based on figures from the national institute for health and disability insurance (Inami).
Specialists encourage the earlier intervention, claiming that it can be helpful in preventing orthodontic problems later on. Getting braces before the age of nine is also more economical in the long run, they add, as the treatment takes less time and the braces are lighter weight.
"People still tend to think of braces as something for only 13- to 15-year-olds," Bart Vande Vannet, spokesman for the association of orthodontists and professor at the Free University of Brussels, told the newspapers. "But in fact we can already do a lot before the age of nine."