A lot of people think of straightened teeth as just a cosmetic improvement. While it’s true that having straight teeth boosts confidence, encourages people to smile more, and provides other benefits from the cosmetic change, it’s also true that there are real health benefits of straight teeth.
If you or your child have misaligned teeth due to any of the bite problems orthodontists treat, we encourage you to make an appointment with an orthodontist. Besides the boost in self-esteem and sociability that can come from addressing the issue, the health benefits of straight teeth also deliver better quality of life and long-term protection against various complications.
Here’s a quick look at just some of the big health benefits of straight teeth.
How Straightened Teeth Improve Your Health
- You can brush your teeth better when they’re straight. Once your teeth are straightened, you get a more thorough cleaning every time you brush. That means healthier teeth and gums with lower risk of cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis, and more advanced gum disease (periodontal disease).
- Better brushing protects your heart health, too. Lowering your risk of things like tooth decay and gum disease also benefits your heart. There’s a link between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease. So, properly aligned teeth can have positive effects well beyond your mouth, and this is definitely one of the most profound but often overlooked health benefits of straight teeth.
- It prevents gum scraping. Misaligned teeth often scrape or stab into the gums, which can be uncomfortable or painful. But this also wears the gums down over time, and if left unchecked, can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
- It reduces the risk of damaged teeth. The gums aren’t the only part of your mouth that are more susceptible to damage when teeth are misaligned. The teeth themselves are more likely to get chipped, cracked, or broken from an accident or facial injury. Misaligned teeth are more prone to abnormal and excessive wear, as well.
- Straight teeth benefit your digestive system. It can be difficult to chew thoroughly with a bite problem. Chewing is the first part of your digestive process, and doing it properly makes the rest of the process run more smoothly and promotes better nutrient absorption.
- They benefit your speech as well. Just as misaligned teeth interfere with proper chewing, they also often interfere with proper formation of certain sounds when you talk. Although this one isn’t exactly a health benefit, it’s worth noting that improved speech is another advantage.
- They can alleviate headaches and jaw pain. Do you or your child suffer from chronic headaches or jaw pain (temporomandibular joint pain and associated temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD)? If you also have misaligned teeth, fixing them could remedy the other problem. Bite abnormalities can create pressure and lead to fatigued muscles, clenching, and other irregular mechanical function in the mouth that triggers headaches or jaw pain.
- There are health benefits from the cosmetic improvement, too. The cosmetic improvement of straightened teeth boosts comfort around others, confidence, and self-esteem. This in turn provides social benefits, better moods, and enhanced mental and emotional health. And even smiling and laughing more are known to be good for stress management and your physical, mental, and emotional health.