We all know that going through a teeth straightening treatment like Invisalign or traditional braces improves your appearance. However, did you know that having straighter teeth can also improve your overall health?
When your teeth are improperly aligned in your mouth it creates what dentists and orthodontists call “malocclusion.” Left untreated, malocclusion can lead to periodontal disease, stress on teeth and jaws, and premature wear of your teeth.
Crowding - If you have crowded teeth, it’s more difficult to brush and floss properly. This may cause gum inflammation and periodontal disease. In turn, it can lead to soft tissue damage, receding gums, the formation of pockets between teeth and gums, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss.
My husband has crowded teeth and has had to undergo painful gum scrapings in the past. To prevent gum disease, he gets his teeth professionally cleaned four times instead of twice a year. He also makes sure to brush and floss several times a day and uses a dental water flosser on a daily basis. He makes a lot of effort to make sure his teeth and gums are healthy. However, it’s a lot of work and something many people aren’t willing to do.
Spacing between teeth - If you have wide spaces between your teeth, food may lodge between your teeth and cause sore, tender gums, which could result in periodontal disease.
Deep bite - If you have a deep bite, your over-erupted lower front teeth can damage your palate. Also, a deep bite can cause premature wear and chipping of the lower front teeth.
The benefits of straight, properly aligned teeth
Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss than crowded or crooked teeth. Properly positioned teeth can help gums “fit” more tightly around them, which may lead to better periodontal health. Since you’re able to brush and floss more effectively, the chances of having plaque build up, tooth decay, and periodontal disease can be reduced.
Properly aligned teeth also mean that you reduce the risk of expensive procedures required to repair the effects of abnormal force, such as tooth chipping, breaking, or wear. There’s also less stress on your jaw joints when your teeth are properly aligned.
Dental health affects overall health
According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health may contribute to various diseases and conditions.
- Gum disease may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, this can cause infection in other parts of the body such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
- Some research suggests that cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to chronic inflammation from periodontitis.
- Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Osteoporosis may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. Isn’t it worth getting braces or Invisalign to feel good as well as look good?
Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.