You have been considering braces for a while since you have always wanted a beautiful smile with straight teeth. You’re planning on meeting with an orthodontist soon to get your questions answered before you make a decision. Congratulations on taking the first step!
You might be surprised to learn that there are many other reasons to straighten your teeth besides the cosmetic appearance. For example, your oral health affects your overall health, and having straight teeth is the foundation for a solid oral health regimen.
In this article, we’ll answer the question “Why is having straight teeth important?”. Here are seven benefits of straight teeth that can answer this question for you.
Seven Important Benefits of Straight Teeth
#1 – Straight Teeth Are Easier to Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy
Teeth that are crooked and misaligned provide nooks and crannies for food to hide from your toothbrush and floss. This results in plaque buildup, which in turn releases acids that will cause cavities. Gums become inflamed and if left untreated, periodontal disease will begin.
Straight teeth do create a beautiful smile, but there is much more at stake. Oral hygiene is easier and faster if your teeth are straight. Your toothbrush and floss catch and remove bits of food, resulting in fewer visits to your dentist for cavities and gum disease treatment.
#2 – Your Gums Will Be Healthier
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is marked by swollen, red, or bleeding gums and leads next to periodontitis. The bones and ligaments that hold the teeth in place are eaten away by the toxins found in plaque built up around the teeth. If not addressed, tooth loss is the result.
This unappealing state of a person’s teeth is often the result of poor dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing are either not done as frequently as necessary or the teeth are so crooked or the bite is so bad that brushing and flossing can’t be effective. Oral infections result and then can lead to systemic health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and others.
Straight teeth and effective oral hygiene prevent this downward spiral of plaque buildup, gingivitis, periodontitis, and disease.
#3 – Your Speech Will Be Clearer
Your speech is affected by your teeth. If they are crowded, protruding, or gapped, the quality of your speech is negatively affected. This may surprise you, but our teeth help us speak in two ways:
- By controlling the airflow out of the mouth, and
- By helping the tongue and lips to form many consonant sounds
Crooked or gapped teeth may result in a lisp or whistling noise while speaking. Speech impediments like these make it difficult to be understood and to articulate clearly. Even decayed teeth can cause speech problems when a person is self-conscious about their teeth. People may try to hide their teeth by barely moving their lips or their mouth while speaking. This affects the volume of speech, intonation, and clarity.
Straightened and aligned teeth can eliminate all these problems.
#4 – Digestion Will Be Better
Proper and sufficient chewing is critical to a healthy diet. Teeth that are aligned and close together, with no gaps, allow you to chew food completely. This, in turn, helps prevent indigestion and frequent gas. All the available vitamins and minerals reach your digestive system as easily as possible.
Our teeth perform different functions of chewing. For example, our sharpest teeth are the incisors, which bite pieces of food and move them farther back into the mouth. Behind the incisors are the canine teeth which also help with tearing and holding food. The molars are next and they grind and break down the food even further. Then the chewed food goes down the esophagus, into the stomach, and then the rest of the digestive tract.
If food can’t be chewed efficiently by the teeth, more digestion has to be done in the stomach or intestine to break down the food. This is when poor digestion and gas results, affecting your overall health.
#5 – Jawbone Strength and Health Is Maintained
Crooked teeth experience more wear and tear and this can lead to malocclusion, also known as a misaligned bite. From a misaligned bite can come another harmful condition: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD is a condition that causes intense pain or even sometimes the locking of the jawbone.
A great deal of space between teeth can also put stress on the gums and teeth. This leads to the breakdown of the bones that support the teeth, which then leads to pain and possible tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment to align your bite and straighten the teeth will help prevent this.
#6 – There Will Be Less Head and Lower Neck Pain
When teeth are straight and aligned properly on the top and bottom, like gears fitting together, there is less stress on the jaw, joints, and gums. The joints move smoothly, resulting in fewer headaches and migraines. It also makes it easier to chew, another action that can affect the head and neck.
Sometimes the human mouth doesn’t work that way, though. Teeth may grow in crooked and misaligned and that leads to bite and speech issues. The temporomandibular joints and muscles that move the jaw can be strained. You can experience severe headaches or chronic face or neck pain. An orthodontist can straighten your teeth so that your bite works correctly to lessen or eliminate these problems.
#7 – Sleep Issues Can Be Eliminated or Improved
There is evidence that a misaligned jaw may be the cause of some sleep issues like sleep apnea. Orthodontic treatment can help by straightening and aligning your teeth and jaw, keeping the airway properly open while sleeping. Devices like custom mouthpieces, braces, or aligners are often used to treat certain sleep issues.
For example, your orthodontist may recommend a mandibular advancement splint or a rapid palate expander. Or, a custom-fit brace is used to change the jaw’s alignment and widen the airway when the person is asleep. This reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea.
You Can Enjoy the Benefits That Straight Teeth Offer
A beautiful smile with straight teeth is a worthy goal for anyone. However, there is more to having straight teeth than just the look of your smile. In this article, we have provided seven additional reasons to have straight teeth.
Your overall health is affected by your oral health, and crooked teeth or alignment problems lead to many issues you perhaps hadn’t thought about. Straightening your teeth with the help of your orthodontist is the best way to improve your confidence as well as your oral health and overall health.
White Plains Orthodontics is the top local provider of orthodontic services in White Plains, NY, enabling our patients to have the beautiful, healthy, and straight smiles they deserve.
Dr. Jeffrey Kim and our team have the experience and skills to give you beautifully straight teeth and a healthy jaw. Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of straight teeth and the orthodontic treatment options available to you!