Straight teeth are one of those physical beauty characteristics that very few of us come by naturally. Orthodontics and braces are typically our go-tos when heredity and nature lets us down. When it comes to the big picture of oral health, straight teeth play an important role, but they aren’t a solo act.
A great jumping-off point for this discussion is to review the relationship between your teeth and your jawbone and why it matters in the context of your health.
At first, it may seem like straight teeth and an aligned jawbone are all about aesthetics. After all, when your teeth are straight and your jaw aligns properly, isn’t that more attractive? While that’s true, it’s not the whole story.
When your teeth are crowded, gapped, or twisted, or when your bite is misaligned, there can be oral and overall health implications as well as disruptions in normal function. Following are some of the benefits of having straight teeth and a well-aligned bite.
One of the most obvious implications of misaligned teeth and bite is that your upper and lower jaws don’t come together as they should, which throws off the mechanics of chewing.
When proper biting and chewing are compromised, so is the digestion process, which is tied to properly fueling your body. You tend to eat foods based on your ability to eat them, not on their nutritional value.
The formation of words is all about the relationship between your lips, tongue and teeth, and the roof of your mouth. When everything is straight and aligned, the process plays out like a well-choreographed dance, and your words flow seamlessly and clearly. When your teeth are out of line, there’s a higher risk for speech issues that produce unclear speech, whistling sounds, or lisping.
Purely from an oral health standpoint, misalignment can spell trouble when it comes to your ability to properly clean your teeth. If your teeth are crooked, brushing and flossing becomes challenging at best as you try to reach all those nooks and crannies where food debris could be lurking.
And it’s not a simple hygiene issue. Under the best of situations, your mouth is jam-packed with bacteria, a vast majority of which are completely harmless or can be reeled in through vigilant at-home oral care plus regular checkups and professional cleanings.
But misaligned teeth hamper your ability to perform an effective at-home oral care routine that not only helps you clean your teeth and gums, but also helps you address plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Another oral health issue that comes into play when your teeth and bite are misaligned is tooth damage and wear. When your teeth are straight and you have a proper bite, all movement happens as it should because your teeth, jawbone, and muscles work together for optimal movement.
When your alignment is off, all of a sudden a tooth isn’t hitting against another tooth properly, and you end up with issues like unevenly worn teeth or damage like chips and cracks.
Typically the first clue that you’re grinding your teeth comes at a routine dental checkup when your dentist notices worn down, damaged teeth. In this instance when your teeth don’t meet properly when you close your mouth, it triggers instability in your jaw, which puts undue stress on your jaw joints and muscles.
Jawbone instability and joint issues can damage the bones that support your teeth and contribute to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD and a misaligned bite can also result in persistent headaches or migraines
If you have crooked teeth or feel that something’s off in your bite, contact McGill Orthodontics to schedule an orthodontic consultation. Call our office most convenient to you or request your appointment online today. Dr. McGill and our team take the time to get to know you and create a personalized orthodontics treatment plan to capture your best smile.