Woman smiling in dentists' office

5 Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

Straight teeth are attractive, of course, but the benefits of straight teeth go beyond an appealing smile – they can also contribute to your oral health and overall health. If you are like many people, though, you don’t want to wear braces; this is especially true for teenagers who don’t want to be bothered with the hassles of wearing braces. Fortunately, there is a way to get all the benefits of teeth straightening without braces.

5 Ways Straight Teeth Benefit Your Oral Health

1. Reduced risk of cavities

Cavities develop when bacteria, plaque, and food particles start eroding tooth enamel. Brushing and flossing remove leftover food and bacteria from the surface of the teeth. Misaligned teeth, known by dentists as “malocclusion,” can create gaps and crevices in which food debris get stuck. Malocclusions also make it hard to remove cavity-causing food and plaque with brushing and flossing.

Straight teeth make your teeth easier to clean and provide fewer places for food debris to hide, which means teeth are at a lower risk for developing cavities

2. Lowered risk of tooth breakage

Biting and chewing cause a great deal of pressure on teeth, and this pressure can cause teeth to chip, crack, and even break. As we age, our teeth become weaker and more prone to chipping, cracking, and breaking. Crooked teeth speed up this process by disproportionately increasing the pressure on certain teeth, which causes those teeth to endure more strain during biting and chewing. Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth can be unsightly, painful, and more prone to cavities and tooth loss; they can also be expensive to repair with veneers, or crowns.

Straight teeth apply pressure evenly across all the teeth to prevent chips, cracks and broken teeth.

3. Improved chewing

Straight teeth help you chew your food thoroughly. Well-chewed food is easier for your stomach to break apart, which then makes it easier for your small intestine to absorb the nutrients from food. Crooked teeth do a poor job of grinding up food, on the other hand, which makes it harder for your body to digest your food well.

4. Less pain in your head, jaw and neck

Misaligned teeth force the biting muscles in your jaw to work harder than normal. The excess work can lead to a wide variety of painful conditions affecting your head, jaw, and neck. These conditions include:

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, a condition that can cause pain and clicking where the jaw meets the skull at the ear
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle stiffness while chewing
  • Generalized jaw pain

Straight teeth allow your biting muscles to work normally, thereby reducing your risk for head, jaw and neck pain.

5. Boosted self-confidence

Having crooked teeth may cause people to feel depressed and unhappy. Many people with malocclusions avoid smiling because they are embarrassed about their crooked teeth. Having straight teeth can make people more self-confident about their smile.

Teeth Straightening Without Braces

Some people are born with straight teeth – the rest rely on orthodontics, such as braces, to gain all the benefits of straight teeth. Braces and other types of orthodontics straighten teeth by applying gentle pressure to move teeth gradually to a more desirable location.

Traditional braces that use metal brackets and wires do a great job of straightening teeth, but are quite visible when your teen smiles or speaks. The brackets and wires of traditional braces are often uncomfortable for many people. Braces can also make it harder for a teen to brush their teeth, which puts them at greater risk for developing cavities. What’s more, braces can make it difficult to chew food thoroughly, and that can prevent your child’s body from digesting food well.

Fortunately, advances in dental technology have allowed patients to straighten their teeth without the need for traditional braces. For example, Invisalign® is a technology that features a series of clear plastic trays that guide teeth into their proper location. The clear plastic trays are nearly invisible, so people are less likely to notice that your teen is wearing them. The trays are smooth and comfortable – no wires or brackets to poke the inside of your teenager’s mouth. Unlike traditional braces, there are no food restrictions associated with Invisalign® : your child can simply take out the plastic trays while them eat and put them back in when they are done. The trays require no special care either: your teen simply removes them when brushing or flossing.

For more information about the health benefits of straight teeth, contact Starling Orthodontics. We also offer Invisalign® to straighten teeth and help your teenager smile with confidence.

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