If you’ve learned to live with crooked teeth without feeling overly self-conscious about your smile, you might not realize your crooked teeth have more of an impact on your life than just your self-esteem. A misaligned smile can actually lead to several unexpected problems impacting your oral, mental and physical health. Here we look at the unknown risks of living with crooked teeth to help you understand why it’s so important to correct the problem with braces or clear aligners.
Eating And Chewing
Many patients with crooked teeth experience eating and chewing issues due to a misaligned jaw. Your jaw is impacted by how your upper and lower teeth connect to create your bite. If your teeth are crooked, misalignments cause your teeth to rub together in an awkward manner which makes it difficult for you to chew your food. While this might not seem so important, it increases the risk of choking because the food is not broken down properly. It also can lead to digestion issues, or in some cases keep you from eating healthier foods you find hard to chew. This impacts your overall health as you don’t receive the proper nutrients.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
When your teeth are crooked, overlapping, or too close together, it makes flossing and brushing properly close to impossible. All those tight spaces are the perfect place for food debris and plaque to build up, making it harder to keep on top of your oral health. This puts you at higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. You are also more vulnerable to oral infections with all those bacteria free to lurk about and cause serious issues.
Crooked teeth can impact your ability to pronounce certain letters and word sounds properly. If you have gaps, an overbite, or overcrowding, the position of your teeth can cause several issues including lisps, slushy sounds when you speak or even whistling between your teeth when you pronounce ‘S.’ This leads to distortion of your speech which can pose challenges to pursue certain careers, participate in social events, or even get good grades at school when making presentations. It can also impact your self-esteem, keeping you from leading a fulfilling life.
Your crooked teeth or overlapping teeth can cause a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Overcrowded teeth or misaligned jaws increase the risk for sleep apnea because it makes it harder to breathe when you sleep. Sleep apnea causes you to stop and start breathing many times throughout the night. This causes daytime tiredness but also puts a constant strain on your system, increasing the risk for heart issues and high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is not the only risk your crooked teeth place on your heart. Crooked teeth increase the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth because, as mentioned above you are faced with challenges for an effective oral hygiene regime. The bacteria can get into your bloodstream and affect your heart valves as oral bacteria and saliva can contain harmful plaque.
More Wear And Tear
A misaligned bite puts more pressure on your teeth because teeth rub together in an awkward, unnatural way. As a result, you’re going to see more wear and tear on your teeth, especially if your crooked teeth protrude. Over time your enamel will wear away so again, you’re going to be more prone to cavities and gum disease. You’re even at risk for a possible abscessed tooth because you can cause deep damage due to breaks or cracks that reach the sensitive inner pulp of your tooth.
The same bacteria that pose risk for tooth decay, gum disease and even heart trouble also cause bad breath. Although you can use mouthwash to try to keep your breath fresh, the real culprit is the bacteria and needs to be reduced to prevent bad breath instead of just masking it.
Although you might think your crooked teeth aren’t impacting your confidence, are you 100% sure it doesn’t bother you? For example, do you find you avoid laughing outright or smiling at strangers because you don’t want people to see your teeth? Do you find it awkward to find a good smile when taking selfies? Do you feel self-conscious when you meet new people and often avoid smiling, which can make you seem less friendly?
You might not realize you aren’t smiling as much as those around you because deep down you lack smile confidence. Add to this, feelings of self-consciousness about bad breath and it can increase anxiety levels in social situations. This can lead to issues with self-esteem and even cause bouts of depression. You might be invited out less by friends because they feel you are too mopey, or you yourself might inadvertently isolate yourself because you don’t feel as beautiful on the outside as you do on the inside. All these issues bear down on you over time, negatively affecting your mental health.
If you suffer from constant headaches without knowing why, it could be from your teeth. Crooked teeth put pressure on your jaw muscles which can cause very painful, frequent headaches. Your face and jaw muscles are under constant pressure, causing strain on your head and neck.
Temporal mandibular jaw (TMJ) disorder is very often related to a misaligned bite. This is a very painful disorder that causes not just headaches but pain in your jaw, neck, face, ear, and shoulders. You can also experience issues opening your mouth and even have your jaw lock. You might notice a popping or cracking noise from your jaw as well. TMJ is common with crooked teeth because it occurs from strain and wear on your jaw and hinge joint. It’s really just a matter of time before you suffer from TMJ if you aren’t already.
If you have crooked teeth, you could be suffering from several of these side effects already. To avoid the complications of crooked teeth, we offer several “smile makeover” options to help correct crooked teeth and realign your bite. We can also help treat sleep apnea and TMJ.