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Why Is Teeth Crowding Bad?

By Ashley Hinson
Though it may look harmless, teeth crowding can have negative effects on your dental hygiene as well as your overall health.

Teeth crowding is defined as insufficient space for teeth caused by big teeth, inadequate jaw space, or both, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Crowded teeth are more difficult to clean, which can lead to several health issues down the line. Here are four possible consequences of teeth crowding. 

Decay

Crowded teeth accumulate bacteria and increase the risk of decay because they are difficult to brush and floss, Beth Rosenberg, DDS, of Huron Dental Associates in New Boston, MI, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

“Some surfaces of the teeth are hard to keep clean if they are overlapping other teeth. Plaque and calculus can build up in these areas and sit on the teeth, causing decay. If the teeth remain crowded, it makes them difficult to restore with fillings and crowns and can lead to further problems like recurrent decay or periodontal (gum) disease,” Rosenberg says. 

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the initial form of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. In addition to cavities, “plaque and calculus build up [can] cause gingivitis,” Rosenberg says. This risk is more pronounced with crowded teeth that are harder to clean. 

“Signs of gingivitis are red, puffy, or bleeding gums, bad breath, and sensitive teeth from receding gums,” Rosenberg says

Chipping

“The more points of contact you have between lower teeth and upper teeth, the better distributed the forces of chewing and normal functioning are throughout the mouth,” Paul Springs, DMD, a prosthodontist at Dr. Mondshine & Associates, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

“If things are not well-aligned then a small piece is likely to take the brunt of that contact,” Springs says.

In other words, crowded teeth can create irregular distributions of pressure when you chew. Spings explains that, when teeth are crowded and their form is irregular, one or two teeth will take on the pressure normally distributed to four to six teeth. This can lead to chipping.

Chronic Diseases

According to Springs, crowded teeth can make allergies worse, and histamine issues related to teeth crowding can even become dangerous. 

“Histamine is an inflammation molecule. When you have bacteria between teeth and under the gumline, it creates inflammation. When the body is on high alert in one place, it tends to have a high alert in other places. You become inflamed in the mouth and become inflamed in other areas,” Springs says. 

If your oral health is susceptible to certain issues, it may cause problems in other areas of your overall wellbeing.

“What they find is that people who have chronic gum inflammation are more likely to have inflammatory illnesses in other placesand the biggest, most expensive, and most dangerous ones that we face are things like heart disease, certain kinds of dementia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and even certain kinds of cancer, including pancreatic cancer,” Springs says. 

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