Many people consider crooked teeth to be a cosmetic issue, but the health benefits of straight teeth are actually quite significant. While having straight teeth definitely contributes to a beautiful smile, it also bodes well for both your dental health and your overall health.
The Trouble with Crooked Teeth
When teeth don’t line up properly, the result is a malocclusion. Nearly 75 percent of American adults are affected by some form of malocclusion, which comes in several different types. With crowding and spacing, the issue is the proximity of the teeth. Other malocclusions involve misalignments in the way the teeth come together when the person bites, including deep bite, cross bite, open bite, edge-to-edge bite, and excessive overjet.
Crooked and misaligned teeth are common dental issues, but they can also cause serious problems if left untreated. In fact, the situation is likely to worsen as time passes, so taking steps to correct this type of issue early can save you time, money, stress, and discomfort.
Health Benefits of Straight Teeth
Why are crooked and misaligned teeth such troublemakers? Malocclusions put abnormal stress on your teeth and jaw, setting the stage for a wide array of problems. They can also increase your risk of periodontal disease. In contrast, straight teeth are more likely to allow your teeth and jaw to function as designed, and they are easier to maintain. You certainly don’t have to be a dentist to understand the numerous health benefits of straight teeth.
Straight Teeth Last Longer
Biting and chewing generate a fair amount of pressure. Teeth that are properly aligned handle it without any issue, but the same cannot be said of teeth that are impacted by a malocclusion. Bite problems put excessive stress on areas that are not designed to cope with it and result in premature wearing of the teeth. Over time, this can lead to chipping, notching at the gum line, abnormal flattening of the biting surface, and fractures along the edges of the teeth. This damage is often unattractive. Worse, it weakens your teeth, ups your risk for periodontal issues, and increases the likelihood that you’ll need expensive dental work to repair your smile.
Straight Teeth Reduce the Risk of Jaw Trouble
A bad bite strains more than just your teeth; it also stresses the joints of the jaw. The temporomandibular joints are the hinged joints that connect your jaw to your skull near your ears. When these joints and the muscles that support them are irritated by the strain generated by crooked or misaligned teeth, you’re liable to find yourself dealing with jaw pain, dizziness, earaches, ringing in your ears, and headaches. In fact, individuals struggling with jaw pain and persistent headaches may find that treating their malocclusion provides welcome relief from these problems.
Straight Teeth Help You Avoid Periodontal Disease
Why do straight teeth make it easier to avoid periodontal disease? They’re easier to keep clean. Crooked and misaligned teeth can make it incredibly difficult to remove bacteria, and lingering bacteria is what triggers periodontal disease. An infection that damages the tissues that support your teeth, periodontal disease is often called gum disease, but the gums aren’t the only part of the body at risk. Although the gums are generally the first area to be impacted, the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone can also be affected. In its earliest stages, periodontal disease leads to redness, tenderness, and bleeding when you brush or floss. Over time, the infection progresses, causing chronic inflammation and damage to the soft tissue. If the process is allowed to continue unchecked, the gums begin to recede. Then, bone is lost. Eventually, tooth loss occurs.
Straight Teeth Protect Your Overall Health
By making it easier to practice effective dental hygiene that removes bacteria before it can cause a problem, straight teeth protect your overall health. Did you know that an infection that begins in your mouth has the potential to endanger your entire body? Bacteria that attacks the gum tissue doesn’t have to stop there. It can also travel through the blood vessels and enter your blood stream. Once there, it can damage your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. In caring for your teeth and gums, you can help your entire body.
The health benefits of straight teeth are obvious. While a lucky few will have naturally straight teeth, people with crooked or misaligned teeth don’t have to miss out on a healthy, beautiful smile. Dentists can help their patients straighten their teeth and perfect their grins with products like Invisalign. With Invisalign, a series of clear customized aligners gently and discretely move teeth into the proper positions. Could Invisalign be the right option for you? To explore the possibilities, schedule a consultation with Duff Family Dental today. We can help you obtain a healthy, properly aligned smile.