There are many cosmetic benefits to straight teeth. The appearance of your smile can affect your love life, your self-confidence, and your mood. It can even affect your career. According to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly 75% of adults believe that the appearance of their smiles believe that an unattractive smile can harm their career.
However, dentists can correct more than the appearance of your smile when they straighten your teeth. There are many functional benefits to straight teeth, whether you choose traditional braces or Invisalign aligners. Here are five symptoms that can be corrected by straightening your teeth:
When your teeth are misaligned (AKA malocclusion), you can experience pain in your teeth, jaw, neck, and face. The surface of your upper and lower teeth are shaped to match up with each other. For example, a correct bite will result in the ridges of your lower molars fitting precisely into the grooves of the upper molars. When your teeth are misaligned, they do not fit into each other, causing forces on the teeth they are not intended to withstand. These forces, over time, can result in pain as teeth are pushed and pulled unnaturally.
Moreover, when your bite is not aligned, the muscles in your jaw, neck, and face can be strained. This muscle strain is caused by an unnatural pull on these muscles or the muscles’ attempt to compensate for your crooked bite.
Orthodontists and Invisalign providers can straighten teeth and correct your bite. This will reduce muscle strain and colliding teeth and can result in fewer headaches, jaw aches, and toothaches.
Food can get stuck between crooked teeth more easily because the spacing between the teeth is off. Unfortunately, stuck food is more than an annoyance: it can lead to serious problems that will require dental care. Food can trap bacteria between teeth. The byproducts of these bacteria include the acid that causes tooth decay and demineralization of tooth enamel. Over time, dental cavities will form and dental intervention will be needed.
Moreover, the food caught between teeth can work its way down to the gums, causing irritation and swelling. Moreover, the same bacteria that cause dental cavities can also cause gum disease when they become trapped under the gum line by stuck food.
Finally, stuck food can cause bad breath. While you may not associate bad breath with crooked teeth, it is often more difficult to keep your teeth clean when they are misaligned. The spacing and orientation of crooked teeth can inhibit flossing and your toothbrush may not reach all the surfaces of your teeth. Straight teeth, by contrast, are somewhat “self-cleaning” because an aligned bite allows chewing gum and crispy vegetables to scrape bacteria off the teeth. Teeth straightened by a dentist in Lake Ridge VA are also easier to brush and floss.
Misaligned teeth are more likely to result in cuts and bites to the soft tissues of the mouth. Accidental bites to the cheeks, lips, and tongue can occur while chewing.
Moreover, misaligned teeth can cause cuts to the soft tissues when sustaining an impact to the mouth or face if teeth protrude outward. As mentioned above, when a bite is aligned, the teeth match up with each other. While this is not a guarantee against soft tissue damage from contact sports, auto accidents, or other impacts, having a dentist straighten your teeth can reduce the risk.
Teeth are an essential part of the digestive system. Teeth physically break down food so that the chemical processes in the stomach and intestines can work more effectively.
A misaligned bite can result in poorly chewed food. Moreover, you may be prone to chewing less completely if you’re already in pain from crooked teeth. Indigestion and acid reflux can result when food is not chewed thoroughly. Food that is not chewed can block your digestive system and will cause your stomach to produce more acid to break down the food properly. This can cause stomach pain, heartburn, constipation, and bad breath.
Additionally, your digestive system can have difficulty extracting nutrients from poorly chewed food. Chewing breaks cell walls in the food, allowing enzymes to pull vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and proteins from the food. These are the chemical building blocks that the body needs to function at its best.
Worse yet, if chewing causes you pain or discomfort, you are more likely to change what you eat. Fruits and vegetables may be excluded from the diet altogether or eaten only in cooked (or overcooked) form, which can reduce their nutritional value. You may reduce how much you eat and miss out on essential nutrients. The result in extreme cases would be malnutrition.
Crooked teeth can also interfere with speech. This can occur for many reasons, including discomfort to the teeth and lips when speaking due to protruding teeth. Straightening teeth can help to remove these obstacles to clear speech for both adults and children.
Whether you visit a dentist in Lake Ridge VA for traditional braces or Invisalign aligners, you can rest assured that your smile — and your diet — will thank you.