When most people think of braces, they often focus on the aesthetic improvements to our smiles. However, there’s so much more to this treatment. Whether you’ve already started treatment or you’re thinking about starting it for yourself or your child, you’ll be happy to know that the benefits of clear, metal, and removable braces at Feil Orthodontics extend beyond creating a viral TikTok-worthy grin. Let’s look at just 5 health benefits of straight teeth!
Better Oral Health
One of the most well-known benefits of straight teeth is easier oral hygiene and better oral health. But how does “rearranging” your teeth make dental checkups less rough?
Teeth that don’t line up correctly can create friction by rubbing against each other, quickly wearing down your enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth! Without the enamel, teeth become more vulnerable to threats like plaque and temperature sensitivities.
Crooked or misaligned teeth also create hard-to-reach nooks and crannies that allow bacteria, plaque, and food to escape your sight and oral hygiene tools. Over time, these unwanted invaders can cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, infections, and other oral health issues. Without proper treatment and enamel protection, these oral health issues may lead to lasting damage to your teeth and gums.
When your teeth are straighter, cleaning your teeth and gums is much easier, and your enamel has a reduced risk of premature fading!
Prevents Digestive Issues
Did you know poor teeth alignment can mess up your body’s digestive system?
Chewing is the first step in the digestive process, and when teeth are not aligned correctly, it can lead to inadequate chewing, which allows larger food particles to enter the digestive tract and put extra strain on your digestive system. Your body must work twice as hard to break down the food. You’ll have an increased risk of food getting stuck in the digestive system, and your body will be unable to absorb most of the nutrients from your food!
But before your stomach and intestines see the food, it must pass through your throat. Unfortunately, you’ll have difficulty swallowing food if you aren’t chewing thoroughly. This increased risk of choking is both from the size of the food and your body’s inability to produce enough saliva. You see, chewing helps stimulate the production of saliva, an essential liquid containing enzymes that make swallowing safer by lubricating the throat and food. Saliva also helps down food.
To understand the importance of chewing, it might help to think of a kitchen sink. Have you ever tried to get rid of food in the sink, but it didn’t fit down the drain? You probably had to turn on the faucet and garbage disposal to get the food wet and break it into smaller pieces to go down the pipe. That’s what chewing does! It breaks down the food and gets it soft and squishy so it can quickly and safely travel through your throat.
Because of this, crooked teeth can quickly make eating uncomfortable and discouraging. If you associate eating with negative emotions, you are more at risk of developing unhealthy dietary habits and malnutrition. Orthodontic care can make eating much more enjoyable and beneficial, two things you should want and expect from a necessary part of your daily routine.
Reduce or Eliminate Pain
Misaligned teeth can cause discomfort beyond hot or cold sensitivity, cavities, gum disease, and the sometimes uncomfortable yet necessary treatments to address oral health concerns. When your teeth are crooked, or your bite is off, it can cause many problems, not just for your smile but for your whole body.
It all stems from your jaw. If your teeth don’t fit together right, your jaw has to work extra hard every time you chew or talk. This abnormal pressure can lead to a condition called TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), which causes pain in your jaw, popping sounds when you open your mouth, neck tension, earaches, and headaches. Once it develops, TMD is a lifetime condition for most people.
So, braces do a lot more than make your smile look good. They help your whole mouth work better, which means less pain for you. And who wouldn’t want that?
Did you know how your teeth are aligned can affect how you breathe? It might sound surprising, but it’s true. When teeth are misaligned, it can impact the shape of your airway, making it harder to breathe.
The width of the airway is particularly important when we think about snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops and starts while you sleep. Sleep apnea and other breathing-related sleep disorders can leave you tired and irritable the next day, affecting your quality of life and work performance. If left untreated, these disorders can produce serious health problems.
But breathing isn’t only something we do when we sleep! During the day, malocclusion can force you to breathe through your mouth, which can lead to dry mouth, tooth decay, bad breath, and more. It can also lead to shortness of breath, the uncomfortable feeling of not having enough air in your lungs. It’s like having a stuffy nose all the time!
Braces can be crucial in these situations by adjusting the position of your jaw to open up your airway.
Improves Mental Health
When you don’t like what you see in the mirror, it can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, when it comes to your smile’s alignment, it can also lead to negative judgment from others. A study has shown that people with straight teeth have an easier time making friends, getting dates, and receiving job offers after face-to-face interviews. This difference in “luck” is because a conventionally attractive smile was associated with confidence, success, good health, cleanliness, and happiness.
Orthodontic care can drastically transform your smile, which can, in turn, improve your lifestyle and mental health!