Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. But did you know that only 35% of adults have well-aligned front teeth?
Adult orthodontics treatments have hit record numbers in recent years. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that over a quarter of orthodontic patients are adults.
You might think that this increase has to do with vanity, but it might surprise you to know that there are actually quite a number of health benefits to straightening your teeth.
If you’re curious how straight teeth can improve your quality of life, read on.
1. Ease Your Digestion
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of straight teeth is that they can improve your digestion.
Digestion starts as we chew our food. While our teeth mash the food into a more easily processed consistency, enzymes in our saliva begin to make chemical changes to the nutrients. Once we swallow, other enzymes take over as it passes through our systems.
The more these enzymes are able to act on every surface of the food, the better your body is able to pull nutrients from it. Perfectly aligned teeth do a superior job of chewing, enabling your body to digest the way it’s supposed to.
This equates to more nutrition and fewer digestive issues or discomfort.
2. Pain Reduction
It may be surprising to think that you may be experiencing pain due to the way your teeth naturally fit together, but this is often the case.
Headaches, neckaches, and even facial pain can be caused by a misaligned jaw. Even the slightest imperfection in tooth alignment can potentially cause your jaw to chronically misalign.
Straightening your teeth can alleviate these problems and put an end to chronic head, face, and neck pain.
3. Improve The Health of Your Gums
There are a number of ways that straight teeth improve other aspects of your oral health.
For one thing, straight teeth are easier to clean. Brushing and flossing are more effective when your teeth are aligned properly, making it easier to avoid bacterial infections and prevent tooth decay.
In addition, when your teeth fit imperfectly together, the gums are more likely to become irritated. This can lead to a greater risk of infections and periodontal disease.
4. Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Diseases
The improvements to gum health that come from straightening your teeth have surprising repercussions for your bodily health. There have been many studies on the relationship between oral health and seemingly unrelated health issues.
Gum disease has been linked to various chronic diseases. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and even Alzheimer’s have been tied to the effects of gum disease.
Thus, having your teeth straightened can actually prolong your life and improve your health in ways that might seem to have nothing to do with your teeth.
5. Healthier Teeth (Surprise, Surprise!)
If your teeth are crooked, protruding, or have gaps, the wear and tear on them from the normal activities of eating and speaking can be excessive.
This damage can be unsightly and lead to other problems, such as the digestive issues mentioned above, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and pain. When your teeth fit together well, they are less likely to wear unevenly.
On top of this, uneven teeth are more susceptible to damage from accidents like falls or sports injuries. Straight teeth are less likely to crack or chip (or bite your own tongue or cheek!).
6. Cleaner Speech
Did you know that even minor tooth misalignment can cause speech difficulty? You don’t have to have a big gap between your front teeth or an overbite for your teeth to give you speech trouble.
The way your tongue and teeth interact defines the way you produce speech. You might be surprised at how much easier it is to speak clearly with properly aligned teeth.
It may not seem intuitive, but straightening your teeth can have a few tangible benefits to improving your happiness and mental health.
Many people with imperfect teeth feel embarrassed about them. Often, they are reluctant to show their smiles.
This self-consciousness can feel shameful or preoccupying and lead to a decrease in self-confidence.
On top of this, there have actually been psychological studies that demonstrate that the simple act of smiling can improve happiness, reduce stress, and boost cognition.
If that’s not reason enough to smile confidently, what is?
Straightening Your Teeth: What Are the Options?
With all of these benefits to having straight teeth, you might want to know what adult orthodontics options there are. Read on to learn about the two most common methods for tooth alignment.
Until about the last twenty years, traditional wire braces were just about the only option for straightening your teeth.
To apply braces, an orthodontist will glue metal brackets to the surface of the tooth. A wire is then be threaded through the brackets and fastened to create tension. In some cases, small rubber bands are added to alter the fit.
Over the course of treatment with braces, patients will visit the orthodontist periodically to have the tension adjusted. Over the course of time, these small adjustments reshape the way the teeth fit together.
Braces continue to be the number one option for cases of severe tooth or jaw misalignment. The downsides are that the brackets can be irritating to the inside of the mouth and that braces are very visible and often considered unsightly.
Invisalign has become a very popular alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign is a set of customized, clear plastic inserts that fit over the teeth. Inserts are changed occasionally as the teeth shift to achieve the desired fit.
One of the main reasons that Invisalign has become so popular is that it is nearly invisible. Additionally, the lack of metal brackets means less potential irritation.
You can check out more information about Invisalign to see if it might be a good option for you.
There’s No Time Like the Present
With all of the benefits of straightening your teeth, there’s no reason to wait if you don’t already have perfect alignment. Think of your health and happiness!
Do you have thoughts on Invisalign or adult orthodontics? Leave a comment!