Braces are a big commitment for anyone, whether a child, teenager, or adult. When making the decision to get braces for yourself or your child, it’s important to know all the benefits of having braces. Braces are known for improving the appearance of teeth by straightening them, but there are also many other, lesser-known benefits of having braces. Not only do they give you straight teeth, they also give you healthy teeth in several different ways and an improved sense of confidence and self-esteem. Read on for 8 amazing benefits of braces!
Tooth position in the mouth affects how much pressure is placed on your jawbone when you speak and eat. This pressure is crucial for encouraging the bones that keep your teeth in place to remain strong. With time, crooked teeth can affect the placement of pressure when you chew, resulting in excessive force being placed on specific teeth. This slowly erodes the bone in that area. This uneven pressure also leads to inadequate pressure on other areas, which results in a lack of bone stimulation. This is why professional orthodontic care is so important; braces straighten teeth to create the perfect amount of pressure to maintain your jawbones’ balance.
Crooked teeth lead to problems beyond aesthetic appearance. Crowded, misaligned teeth cause tight spaces and awkward angles between teeth, which can become “food traps.” These spaces collect food debris, which can stay stuck even after rinsing your mouth and brushing your teeth. Eventually, these trapped food particles become plaque and lead to cavities. Even if you have a good, regular oral hygiene routine, these tight spaces still retain plaque and can also make flossing difficult and ineffective. Not being able to get floss up to your gum line between each tooth puts you at risk for gum disease. Braces align these spaces between teeth to allow for effective brushing, flossing, and rinsing out of food particles, which decreases instances of tooth decay and gum disease.
When certain teeth protrude out further than they should, they are vulnerable to being broken, chipped, or knocked out in an accident. Wearing mouth guards during contact sports can help with this, but a better, long-term solution is to get those teeth back into alignment so that they’re less vulnerable. Also, there are internal mouth injuries that can occur when misaligned teeth cause you to accidentally bite your cheek or tongue while talking or eating. For some, this is a common and very painful experience, as mouth wounds are particularly difficult to heal.
Severely misaligned teeth can make chewing difficult. When teeth don’t fit together correctly, chewing can even feel painful. This can lead children to avoid certain, harder to chew types of food altogether, which can cause lack of nutrition. For example, avoiding tougher foods such as meat can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as anemia. Also, inadequate chewing can lead to digestive issues, since the food is not being properly broken down in the mouth before passing through the digestive tract. This can lead to stomachaches and other digestive discomfort. Achieving straight teeth through orthodontic treatment can alleviate these types of nutritional and digestive problems.
Another lesser-known benefit of braces: proper alignment leads to better speech! When speaking, the tongue moves against the top of the mouth, and teeth help to create desired sounds. (Fun fact: this is why after losing their top front teeth, children struggle with “s” sounds!). Teeth laying backward or pushing forward may cause a lisp or other speech impediments. This is why speech therapists who work with children sometimes refer them for orthodontic treatment. After braces straighten teeth into alignment, speech issues often improve quickly.
If your teeth are not fitting together correctly, over time your jaw joints will try to compensate by shifting and realigning. This can result in serious, painful jaw disorders with symptoms such as headaches, frequent jaw popping, and jaw pain. These are all sings that your jaw joints are trying to self-correct the misalignment of your teeth. If left untreated, these can become long-term problems. If you or your child currently has any of these symptoms, inform your orthodontist immediately. The first step will be to straighten your teeth with braces to start improving the overall health of your teeth and jaw.
Children, and even adults, adopt harmful habits in an attempt to relieve the discomfort of the pressure that comes from crooked teeth. Pencil chewing, thumb sucking, biting fingernails: any of these sound familiar? Many times, after having braces, these habits simply disappear. Braces also give incentive eat healthy because sticky, sugary foods become stuck in the braces and must be avoided. This can be a great opportunity to cut down on these types of less nutritious food and create better dietary habits for you or your child.
Last but not least, one of the best long-term effects of braces is the boost in self-image that results. Children who rarely smiled openly in public or for pictures can often be seen beaming confidently after orthodontic treatment. This boost in self-esteem will spill over into other areas of life for both adults and children. These results are immeasurable and priceless!
Orthodontic treatment through braces provides lifelong benefits. Braces lead to not only straight teeth, but also to healthy teeth and a confident, happy smile! Contact Kimbrough Orthodontics today for an appointment to see if we can help you achieve the many wonderful benefits that braces have to offer.