Straight Teeth Are Healthy Teeth: Why Alignment Matters

Find out how a great-looking smile can help you look and feel your best.

While crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious and impact how you interact with others, the condition can affect more than your emotional health. Misaligned or overlapping teeth can change the way you speak, smile, and move your mouth. While having crooked teeth isn’t a sign of poor health, leaving them unstraightened can affect the long-term well-being of your mouth and your entire body. 

Crooked teeth can result from having a jaw too small to accommodate all your teeth. If one of your jaws doesn’t align with the other, it can cause an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. Genetics, facial injuries, thumb sucking, or pacifier use can also make teeth grow crooked. No matter the cause of your crooked teeth, the result can jeopardize your ability to keep teeth clean and maintain good health. 

Whatever the condition of your misaligned teeth, an experienced orthodontist can provide effective treatments to correct them. Orthodontist Howard Spector, DDS of Millenium Park Orthodontics in Chicago, Illinois, is skilled in providing patients with a wide range of orthodontic services. Dr. Spector specializes in treatments that include clear Invisalign® corrective orthodontic trays, lingual braces that fit behind your teeth, and clear ceramic braces for patients who don’t want traditional metal brackets. 

Find out how straightening your teeth can provide more than aesthetic benefits to your mouth and overall health. Read on to learn about the conditions affected by crooked teeth. 

Tooth decay

Regular brushing and flossing help maintain good oral health. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for two minutes twice daily to prevent tooth decay and keep your mouth healthy. Proper technique requires brushing the chewing surfaces, outer surfaces, and inner surfaces of your teeth. However, when teeth are crowded or overlay, it can be difficult to properly remove cavity-causing bacteria from these surfaces. 

Bacteria that remain on your teeth can begin forming dental plaque just a few hours after eating. Dental plaque is a sticky buildup that contains bacteria and acids that contribute to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. 

The ADA also recommends daily flossing for oral health. Like brushing, removing bacteria from between teeth and under the gum line plays an important role in preventing cavities and tooth decay. However, crooked teeth create tight areas that make it difficult to properly floss, allowing bacteria to form in nooks and crannies that develop from unnatural overlaps. These areas can be difficult to clean, but just as difficult to treat if decay occurs here. 

Gum disease

Among adults, gum disease ranks as the most common cause of tooth loss. Gum disease results when plaque remains on the gum line after inadequate brushing and flossing, which can occur with crooked teeth. Plaque attacks the tissue that keeps teeth in place. Initial symptoms include painful chewing and sore, bleeding gums. As the plaque multiplies, it can also increase the occurrence of bad breath. 

Over time, the bacteria in the plaque cause small holes in the tissue. Bacteria can enter these spaces and attack a tooth’s bones and interior tissue, further loosening the tooth until it’s no longer anchored in place.  

TMJ symptoms

Crooked or overlapping teeth can cause stress on your jawline. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint in front of your ears on either side of your face. Crooked teeth can force the lower jaw out of proper alignment and stress the TMJ area. TMJ dysfunction can cause headaches, clicking jaws, facial pain, and even ringing in your ears. 

Correcting crooked teeth can allow your jaw to work in proper alignment and help reduce painful symptoms when chewing, talking, or at rest.

Serious health conditions

When misaligned teeth prevent you from properly brushing and flossing, all types of bacteria can grow inside your mouth. As these bacteria multiply, and gum tissue deteriorates, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.

Studies have linked periodontal disease with a higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke. Research has also found an increased incidence of pneumonia, preterm and low birthweight babies with periodontal disease. 

Find out how orthodontics can help you look your best with the benefits of better oral health and physical well-being. Schedule an appointment online or call our office to arrange a personal consultation today.

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