It’s safe to say that most people would prefer to have a perfectly straight set of pearly whites over crooked teeth. But there’s a common misconception that investing in orthodontic treatment to get straighter teeth is purely cosmetic. At Shine Orthodontics, we’re here to tell you the truth: there’s a lot more to straight teeth than aesthetics alone! In fact, having a straighter smile contributes to better oral and overall health, and can help you avoid both mild and serious health conditions in the future.
So if you have crowded or crooked teeth and you’ve been wondering, “Do straight teeth matter?”, the answer is yes! In this post, your Thornton orthodontists will explain the potential health problems that crooked teeth can cause and the many incredible benefits of straight teeth.
1. It’s Harder to Clean Your Teeth and Gums Effectively
One of the main troubles with crooked teeth is that they give plaque and food debris plenty of little spaces to hide, making it more difficult to brush and floss your teeth correctly. And we all know how important brushing and flossing is to our overall health, especially the health of your teeth and gums! Which leads us to our next point…
2. You’re at Higher Risk for Gum Disease and Tooth Decay
If you can’t get into all those nooks and crannies with dental floss or your toothbrush, it gives plaque the opportunity to build up, sit and fester. This creates the perfect conditions for bacteria to thrive and grow. In the long run, bad bacteria in the mouth leads to gum disease and tooth decay, increasing your chances of developing cavities and long-term oral health problems.
3. You’re More Likely to Experience Wear and Tear on Your Teeth
In most cases, crooked teeth also equate to malocclusion, the technical term for bad bite. Whether you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite or open bite, problems with your bite can lead to excessive wear and tear. Here’s why: when your teeth aren’t aligned properly, they often rub together, creating friction and wearing away at your tooth enamel. Think of your enamel as your teeth’s protective armor. If damaged from wear and tear, your enamel can’t do its job of insulating your teeth from harm. Over time, this can cause serious problems such as cavities and abscesses.
4. Broken Teeth Are Common
Speaking of wear and tear, since crooked teeth often mean excess strain on the jaw and teeth, they are often more prone to chipping and breaking. In addition, protruding teeth (also known colloquially as buck teeth) are at higher risk of getting damaged from sports, or injury or trauma to the face.
5. Crooked Teeth Can Create Issues with Chewing
Depending on the type of malocclusion you have or the severity of your bite issue, crooked teeth and misaligned bite can contribute to chewing problems. After all, one of our teeth’s main functions is grinding up our food so we can eat and swallow safely. If your upper teeth don’t align correctly with your bottom teeth, it can be difficult to break food down into smaller pieces that our bodies can properly digest. Ultimately, this can cause issues with digestion, which can have a whole host of problems of its own.
6. You May Suffer from Bad Breath
Bad breath is a pesky side effect of too much bad bacteria in the mouth. While using mouthwash and being diligent about brushing your teeth can help in the interim to freshen your breath, it’s more of a band aid solution to a larger, underlying problem. The best way to avoid bad breath from crooked teeth is to straighten your teeth with orthodontics.
7. Heart Problems are a Potential Serious Side Effect
This one might come as a surprise but that bad bacteria that causes cavities and bad breath has also been positively correlated to heart disease. That’s because the bacteria can get into your bloodstream where it causes inflammation and instigates vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart. Before you panic, keep in mind that the link between gum disease and heart disease is still being explored. We just want to keep our Thornton orthodontic patients well informed on all things oral health!
8. You Might Experience Lower Confidence and Self-Esteem
We know this isn’t fair but a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry shows that people with straight teeth are perceived to be more intelligent and more successful than people with crooked teeth. People who have straight teeth also report higher levels of confidence and self-esteem. When you have a smile you’re proud to show off, it shines into the world around you and can improve your self-image.
9. You Could Experience More Headaches and Jaw Pain
A misaligned jaw puts extra pressure on your jaw muscles which can often cause chronic headaches. This may even lead to temporomandibular joint point, also known as TMJ disorder. This painful condition can cause pain in your face, neck and shoulders, and is often associated with crooked teeth. Straightening your teeth with braces or clear aligners can align your jaw, straighten your teeth and give you relief from chronic headaches and TMJ.
10. Crooked Teeth Can Affect How You Speak
We don’t often think about the mechanics that give us the ability to speak, but our teeth, lips, tongue and cheeks all work together to allow us to form sounds. If you have a bite issue, or overcrowded or crooked teeth, you may experience difficulty with speech. This could include whistling sounds or lisp, and could impact your ability to make certain speech sounds.
Benefits of Straighter Teeth
So now that we’ve exhausted the list of issues caused by crooked teeth, what about the benefits of straight teeth? Well, take all of the above points and flip them on their heads! Here’s what you can look forward to when you decide to straighten your teeth:
- Healthier teeth and gums
- Less risk of chipped or broken teeth
- The ability to chew, speak and breathe free from impediments
- Improved overall health
- Better breath
- Improved self-confidence
- Fewer headaches and less TMJ pain
- A beautiful, straight smile
At Shine Orthodontics, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to get a healthy smile. If you’ve been wanting to fix crooked teeth but you’re worried about the cost of braces or Invisalign, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Brandon Scheer and his team are dedicated to giving our Thornton orthodontic patients the best possible value by providing high quality orthodontic care for a fair price with orthodontic financing options. We never want finances to prevent you from receiving the care you need. Contact us and we can work together to find a solution that fits your budget.