Did you know that straight teeth are better for you?
We tend to think of teeth straightening as a cosmetic concern, but straight teeth are easier to keep clean and the very act of straightening them can also strengthen them and help you keep them longer.
The straight scoop on oral and overall health
There are several reasons straight teeth improve your overall health:
- They reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease because there are fewer places for food particles and bacteria to get trapped
- Cavities and gum disease are like a chronic infection your body is constantly fighting – which leaves you vulnerable to other infections and diseases
- Oral infections can actually contribute to heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and diabetes, according to studies by the American Dental Association
- They prevent abnormal tooth wear and loss of tooth enamel from misalignment
- They decrease headaches and neck pain from excessive stress on the gums and bone that support your teeth
“Moving your teeth regenerates any bone you may have lost and creates a positive bone structure for good hygiene,” says Dr. Nguyen. “What’s great is that it’s so easy now and it looks so good; everyone should consider it.”
Not a great DIY project
But, and this is important, straightening your teeth is not a do-it-yourself project, despite the fact that there are clear braces available online. “Ordering aligners online without the professional evaluation, cleaning, and treatment plan from a dentist is like rewiring your whole house using tutorials on the internet,” warns Dr. Nguyen. “You can absolutely do that, but you could also end up burning your house down.”
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For clear braces to actually work, there are more than 40 different types of attachments that are required. Some pull teeth down or up; some rotate a tooth. TRU Dentistry offers Invisalign, which include these attachments to ensure patients get the desired result.
“Those clear braces you can buy online don’t come with attachments because that’s something only a dentist is trained to do,” explains Dr. Nguyen. “Your dentist will have the experience and training to know what the attachments do, where the teeth need to go, and which attachments will get you there.”
Even more importantly, your teeth should be examined and professionally cleaned before using any clear aligner. That’s because you’re required to wear those aligners for 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat, brush, and floss. Over the several months it takes to get teeth moved fully into alignment, bacteria-laden calculus (hardened plaque) trapped under those aligners can do a lot of damage.
“When you apply pressure to move your teeth, your bone has to degrade and then remodel and repair,” explains Dr. Nguyen. “If there is calculus on the tooth, the bone will not come back and you could end up losing teeth.”
Straighter teeth boost career, personal life
And then there’s the social impact of nice, straight teeth.
According to a Kelton Research study, people with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be viewed as being healthy, and 38% more likely to be perceived as smart.
In another study, people perceived those with straight teeth as 45 percent more likely to get a job than those with crooked teeth. People with straight teeth were also seen as 58 percent more likely to be successful, as well as 58 percent more likely to be wealthy.
That may be at least partly related to the fact that people who have had their teeth straightened feel more confident. A study showed that 92% of respondents to the survey reported that they were much more confident after having straightened their teeth.
That confidence can begin as soon as you start wearing aligners.
“I think it’s important for people to know that you’re definitely aware that you have something in your mouth when you’re wearing tooth aligners,” says Dr. Nguyen. “But they’re very discreet. My dad wore his Invisalign for a whole year and his secretary never noticed.”