Five little-known benefits to having straight teeth

Story by Dr. Mo Korayem

Having straight teeth and a beautiful smile has many obvious advantages. It boosts self-esteem, increases self-confidence, and can even improve job prospects. But what other benefits are there to having straight teeth?

Dr. Mo Korayem, certified orthodontist, gives us the straight facts about crooked teeth.

1.Fewer cavities

When teeth are well-aligned, they are much more self-cleansing than when they are overlapped and crowded. The most difficult-to-clean areas of the teeth become much more accessible for brushing/flossing as well as contact with the tongue, helping to keep them healthy and cavity-free.

2.More thorough digestion

A healthy, balanced bite is much more efficient at breaking down food during chewing, making it easier for the rest of the digestive system to process. The stomach and intestines can then extract the most nutrition from food, and the chances of having some digestive issues like indigestion and flatulence (gas) are reduced.

3.Healthier gums

Crowded teeth place additional stresses on gum tissue, especially the vulnerable areas between teeth. Crooked or spaced teeth can lead to increased likelihood for gum problems like gum recession and gingivitis. Straight teeth also help gums stay healthy by making it easier to remove plaque and tartar, the most common irritants affecting gum health.

4.Better speech and swallowing

Front teeth play a large role in generating proper speech sounds and proper swallowing. It is necessary for front teeth to make contact in order to properly vocalize certain letters and sounds and for a proper swallowing pattern to be established. When the upper and lower front teeth do not touch with the mouth closed (a condition known as “open bite”) the tongue is positioned forward in the mouth in order to form a seal. This “tongue thrust” then becomes an engrained habit that can adversely affect jaw growth and development and contribute to worsening of the open bite.

5.Decreased change of traumatic damage to teeth

We’ve all seen pictures of hockey players with missing front teeth! Of course it’s not just hockey players that can lose teeth to trauma. Teeth can be damaged or entirely knocked out of the mouth in all kinds of traumatic situations; however, when the teeth are well-aligned, the chances of them getting damaged when exposed to a traumatic impact is lessened as the force of the impact is distributed over a large number of teeth and a larger surface area of supporting bone.

Dr. Mo Korayem is a certified orthodontist with Quest Orthodontics