Ever wondered if there was something more to those perfectly straight smiles? As it turns out, there is. Aside from being easy on the eyes, straight teeth also clear up any issues that are seemingly unrelated to oral health. For instance, did you know that correcting your dental alignment could save you a lot of neck pain and chronic headaches? Or that a straight set of teeth could prevent a nasty case of periodontal disease? But how are these benefits of a straight smile possible?
Understanding the benefits of a straight smile through the disadvantages of crowded teeth
Before we look at the benefits of a straight smile, let’s first look into what happens when you have crowded teeth. Often called malocclusion or a “bad bite,” it’s an apt name to give the condition. When you have crowded teeth, after all, the biting surfaces of your teeth don’t come together correctly when you close your jaw. This misalignment can cause a slew of problems.
For one, it can hamper the way you eat. How you eat plays an essential role in your oral health. When you chew your food properly, you break down your food into small particles. This makes them not only easy to digest but easy to wash away as well. And when you chew the right way, it also activates your salivary glands. The saliva secreted not only dissolves residual sugars but also remineralizes your teeth.
With crowded teeth, this becomes a little harder to do. Because the chewing surfaces don’t precisely touch, it’s more difficult to grind down the day’s meal into tiny particles. When this happens, you’re bound to find chunks of food lodged between your teeth.
Unfortunately, crowded teeth are also hard to clean. Because the teeth are at unnatural angles, they also produce little nooks and crannies that are near-impossible to floss or reach with a toothbrush. Everyone knows it takes longer to clean up misaligned teeth. And because they’re so hard to clean, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you give up on your dental hygiene routine altogether. And when you succumb to poor dental hygiene, you become more susceptible to periodontal disease and tooth decay as plaque continues to build up.
Aside from making your teeth more vulnerable to periodontal disease and the like, the stress from chewing with misaligned teeth can cause neck pain and chronic headaches. With crowded teeth, your jaw works double-time to process the food in your mouth, eventually overloading it. Because your jaw is connected to the trigeminal nerve (which handles the sensations of your whole face), pain in the jaw tends to cascade to other parts of your head. This pain causes chronic headaches and neck pain.
The benefits of a straight smile lie in making oral care easier
If crowded teeth bring about neck pain, chronic headaches, and periodontal disease, then a straight smile does the opposite. Here are some benefits of a straight smile:
- It’s easier to chew your food.
- It takes less effort for your jaw to process the food, preventing any tension that can cause neck pain and chronic headaches.
- It’s easier to clean your teeth, preventing plaque build-up that can cause periodontal disease.