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Are Crooked Teeth Unhealthy?

By John McGuire
Beyond beauty concerns, what are the consequences of crooked teeth? Uncorrected misalignment of the teeth and jaws could affect your dental health.

Everyone wants a nice smile, but are crooked teeth unhealthy? The consequences of crooked teeth can indeed include serious dental health problems. Here are some key ways that unstraightened teeth can impact more than your smile. 

Crooked Teeth and Your Dental Health

"Most people think of straightening teeth for improved aesthetics. However, poor aesthetics are not the only downside of crooked teeth,” Dustin Deering, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Encinitas, Calif., tells WebMD Connect to Care.

The American Association of Orthodontists has noted several reasons that misaligned teeth can pose health problems, including:

  • They’re harder to clean. Crooked teeth are harder to get to while brushing. This can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. 
  • They’re prone to injury. If a tooth is crooked, it’s more susceptible to injury, such as chipping. This is especially true of the front teeth.
  • They’re likely to have increased wear. Crooked teeth are more prone to having abnormal wear of the tooth enamel.

Deering also notes that “overcrowded teeth can be a contributing factor to poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease." Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences that include receding gums, shifting or lost teeth, and unhealthy changes in your jaw bones. 

Crooked teeth can also cause bite problems. The American Association of Orthodontists notes that a misaligned bite can cause problems even if the front teeth appear to be straight.

According to the American Dental Association, potential problems resulting from bite misalignment include:

  • Decayed teeth
  • Diseased gums
  • Loss of teeth
  • Problems with speech and/or chewing
  • Jaw joint problems

“Poor occlusion from misaligned teeth can lead to excessive tooth wear, chipped or cracked teeth, and temporomandibular joint pain,” Deering adds. 

Correcting crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can be the first step toward improved oral health. Ultimately, straightening teeth is important because “proper tooth alignment and occlusion will increase their longevity and your ability to maintain your teeth," Deering says.

Start your journey to a more confident smile today!

Straightening your teeth can be easy and affordable. Find out how to get started today. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.