Braces Do More Than Straighten Teeth
This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
The most obvious benefit of wearing braces is your teeth become straighter, which in turn can produce a more confident smile.
But while studies have shown that straight teeth and a nice smile have a positive effect on self-esteem, social interactions and job prospects, the numerous health benefits received as a result of wearing braces shouldn’t be discounted, orthodontists say.
Having straight teeth improves more than your social and economic health – it improves your physical health as well,” says Dr. Steven Moravec (www.stevemortho.com), author of Going The Extra Smile: Merging Technology And Expertise For A Lifetime Of Smiles, and owner of Moravec Orthodontics.
Many people are surprised to learn that a badly aligned bite or crowded teeth can lead to many types of health problems, such as headaches, jaw pain, tooth grinding, gum disease and general body inflammation.
Moravec gives the health benefits of straightened teeth:
- Prevents tooth decay. “Straight teeth are easier to clean,” Moravec says. “This means you can keep tartar at bay and prevent cavities easier than if you are dealing with overlapping teeth or wide gaps.”
- Prevents gum disease. Gum disease has been linked with heart disease, stroke, and other chronic medical conditions. “The connection between gum disease and chronic health conditions seems to be inflammation – the body’s natural response to an infection or injury,” Moravec says. “Inflammation is caused by tartar buildup and bacteria, and because you can control tartar better by having straight teeth that are easier to clean, you are in better position to prevent gum disease.”
- Reduces instances of cracked, broken teeth. “Teeth were designed to mesh together, with pressure spread relatively evenly across the top and bottom,” Moravec says. “Irregular teeth cause more pressure to be exerted on companion teeth than they were meant to withstand. Consequently, you may find yourself facing a broken tooth. Straightening and realigning those teeth will not only look better, but will also save teeth that otherwise might be lost to disease, fracture, or wear.”
- Helps with sleep apnea. While sleep apnea is often associated with overweight adults, orthodontists and dental professionals are finding that the condition afflicts children as well. “If the bite is corrected as a child, it can reduce mouth breathing, snoring, and in some cases, sleep apnea itself,” Moravec says. “Orthodontically repositioning the bite can also reduce the severity of sleep apnea as an adult, but it’s always necessary to be assessed first by a physician who specializes in sleeping disorders before undertaking orthodontic or dental procedures for sleep apnea.”
- Reduces risk of jaw disorders. Some studies have shown that the jaw joint benefits from straight teeth. “Misaligned teeth can result in a skewed bite that causes the jaw to overcompensate,” Moravec says. “This puts a heavy strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), resulting in tension headaches and jaw pain. Chewing, biting and speaking abilities are optimized when you have straight teeth.”
Straight teeth are more than just a cosmetic concern,” Moravec says. “The health of your mouth can impact your entire body, and the benefits of having straightened, realigned teeth are a big part of oral and whole-body health.
March 24, 2019 at 11:01AM