Slightly crooked teeth might not seem like a significant issue, especially if you’re happy with your smile. But over time, even slightly crooked teeth could affect your health. “Teeth shift over time, no matter how well kept your teeth are. Your teeth will shift naturally throughout your life as you chew and use your mouth,” Yvonne King, BDSc, an Australian aesthetic dentist, tells WebMD Connect to Care. With this in mind, here are a few benefits of correcting slightly crooked teeth.
Improved Oral Health
While your teeth may look only slightly crooked to you, what really matters is how well they align and whether there is sufficient room in your mouth for them.
Crowding, abnormal spacing, and other issues that cause the teeth to look crooked can lead to oral health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss, according to a 2020 study published by the Indian Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology.
Treating alignment issues can therefore cause a positive ripple effect for your overall dental health, as it helps prevent the issues associated with misalignment.
"Having crooked teeth affects health and causes narrowing of the nasal passages and sleep apnea," Deb Roth, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist specializing in tongue ties, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. They may gasp or snore, or wake many times during the night without knowing it. This can affect their ability to function during the day, as well as impacting their overall health, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
If you're experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea, it could be worthwhile for your dentist or doctor to evaluate whether the alignment of your teeth is a contributing factor.
Crooked teeth may affect speech, according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. A person may develop a speech impediment, or struggle to get their tongue into the right position. This can be especially difficult for young people learning to speak or if for those whose job requires frequent verbal communication.
The consequences of crooked teeth could impact your mental health. For example, misaligned teeth could make public speaking difficult and thereby affect your job performance. This could lead to chronic stress or anxiety.
Additionally, if you feel self-conscious about your teeth, they may affect your self-esteem.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Orthodontic Science found that teenagers with crooked teeth had lower self-esteem than their peers. However, the severity of self-esteem issues correlated with the severity of the crookedness, so slightly crooked teeth may pose fewer problems.
If you feel that your crooked teeth, no matter how minor the issue may be, are having negative effects on your mental health, it may be worthwhile to look into corrective options.
Benefits for Cardiac Health
When improper tooth alignment affects oral health, health issues may extend well beyond your mouth. Chronic oral health problems, especially gum disease, may increase your risk of heart disease, according to the American Dental Association.
Teeth become easier to clean and maintain when they're straightened. So, correcting even minor issues could improve your both your overall and dental health.
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