Straightening Your Teeth May Be Good for Your Health
Straightening your teeth can work wonders on your smile, but did you also know it may help lower your risk of developing serious diseases?
"Crooked, crowded or unevenly spaced teeth are harder to keep clean and tend to harbor more food and bacteria," said Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling, an orthodontics specialist in New York. "This can lead to an increase in plaque and bacteria in the mouth which can cause decay and periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the gums, bone and periodontal ligament that can enter the blood stream, travel to major organs and cause systemic complications."
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease; increase the risk of stroke, premature birth and low birth weight; and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes, respiratory diseases or osteoporosis.
Properly aligned teeth can help keep plaque and tarter from building up. Plaque and tarter are known causes of gum disease. Straight teeth help gums "fit" tighter around them and also make it easier to brush and floss, which leads to better gum health.
With today's advances in orthodontic technology, straightening crooked teeth is easier and less noticeable than ever before.
Invisalign, for instance, is a popular technique that straightens teeth using a series of custom-made, clear and removable aligners. Clinical studies show that gum health may improve using Invisalign over other forms of teeth-straightening techniques. Because there are no brackets or wires to worry about, patients can take out their "braces" after meals to brush and floss.
Additional health benefits of straightening teeth include improved chewing and speech and less stress on supporting bone and jaw joints.