Why Does Having Straight Teeth Matter? 12 Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

Why Does Having Straight Teeth Matter? 12 Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

If you're one of 81% of adults that think their teeth are unattractive when they see them in photographs, it might feel good to know you're not alone. But it still doesn't change how you feel. 

Many adults are self-conscious about their smiles because they don't have straight teeth. Whether they opted to forego braces as a child or dental conditions in their adult years have left their teeth less than straight, many adults are self-conscious about their teeth.

There's a lot to be said for a beautiful smile. It's one of the first things anyone's going to notice about how you look. But having crooked teeth is more than just a mental downer. When your teeth are improperly aligned, you're at higher risk for a number of health problems that can compromise your quality of life. Crooked teeth have a significant association with a variety of medical issues, including periodontal disease, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

The benefits of teeth straightening are both physical and mental. Besides making you feel better, straightening your teeth and improving your smile can have a long-lasting impact on your health.

Improving your smile can have a long-lasting impact on your health.

Why Is It Important to Have Straight Teeth?

When it comes to how other people perceive us — and how we perceive ourselves — what's on the inside is always the most important. But it's natural for people to form opinions about someone when they first meet based on appearance, meaning for many, straight teeth are important.

Adults who are self-conscious about their smiles because they don't have straight teeth struggle with this every day. Making the choice to straighten your teeth can do a lot for your mental and physical health. Some of the health benefits of straight teeth include: 

Health Benefits of Straight Teeth [list]

1. A Good First Impression

While we all wish it weren't true, first impressions are often critical. The first time someone meets you, they'll decide a lot about you based on your appearance. If you're confident in your teeth, you may be more likely to smile, creating a positive first impression.

This impression can be especially important if you are interviewing for a new job or going on a first date. After all, in both of these situations, you have a limited amount of time to make a good impression. The person sitting across from you will have to include your appearance in their overall impression of your encounter. In fact, one study even found that people with a nice smile were more likely to be perceived as intelligent and successful. 

So do teeth matter in a relationship? Maybe not in the long run. But they may play an important role in the early phases of developing a relationship — professional, romantic or otherwise — because of how they impact your first impression.

People who are self-conscious about their smiles are also less likely to use them. If you're at a job interview or networking event and you don't smile, that can come across as being anti-social or unwilling to interact with others. Or, people just may not feel like you're happy to be talking to them. If your crooked teeth are affecting your speech or causing you to cover your mouth when you talk, that may also be making it difficult for other people to get to know you. 

2. A Positive Self-Image

A study from the Academy of General Dentistry found that 96% of people believe a good smile is important to a person's overall appearance. But a healthy smile impacts more than how others perceive you — it can actually improve how you see yourself. 

Think about how confident you'd feel if your teeth were straight, clean and healthy. You wouldn't have to worry about how you smile or who sees your smile. You wouldn't work to avoid being in pictures or meeting new people. Instead, you can just turn on that million-watt grin for anyone around. This confidence impacts your self-image, helping you feel more confident about who you are and who people see when they encounter you for the first time and the second and the third.

In some cases, straightening your teeth may help improve your self-image because it will help you feel healthier. 

Straightening your teeth may help improve your self-image.

If you find it hard to clean crooked teeth, you may have struggled with bad breath or discolored teeth that further impacted your confidence in yourself. By correcting the source of the problem, you are eliminating what kept you feeling bad about yourself before. 

Because crooked teeth can cause a wide variety of health problems, including painful headaches, you may also have found that you're less likely to want to socialize with others. After a while, that lack of socialization can have a negative impact on your self-image. Working to correct the problem by straightening your teeth can help improve your desire to socialize and your self-image as a person who's worth spending time with. 

3. Improved Oral Hygiene

Crooked or misaligned teeth are more difficult to keep clean with brushing and flossing. Crooked teeth create more crevices and spaces in your mouth that just can't be reached with a standard toothbrush. Plaque and bacteria have more spaces to thrive in your mouth, resulting in an increased risk of:

  • Decay
  • Cavities
  • Teeth discoloration
  • Bad breath
  • Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can actually cause teeth to become more crooked, so you may actually end up making the problem worse by not doing anything. 

Opting to straighten your teeth removes those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth and makes it easier to clean them regularly. When it's easier to take care of your teeth, you can eliminate bad breath, reduce the discoloration on your teeth and prevent serious issues like cavities and gum disease. 

4. Better Digestion

When your teeth are crooked, you may not be able to chew your food properly. When you swallow your food without chewing it properly, this can impact your body's ability to digest food the way it should. Poorly chewed food makes the intestines work longer and harder to properly digest whatever you've eaten. 

This issue can reduce the amount of nutrients you receive from your food, and it can also cause stomach issues. Over time, improper digestion can result in poor gut health, which basically means that your body isn't producing the right chemicals and bacteria needed to keep your digestive system operating appropriately. A digestive system that isn't functioning correctly can result in:

  • Stomach pain
  • Food intolerances
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Skin issues
  • Weight changes

Straight teeth are better able to chew food into small pieces, which makes it easier for your body to digest what you eat. 

Straight teeth are better able to chew food into small pieces.

It also helps your body digest food quickly, which means it retains more of the nutrients your body needs to function properly. 

If you've been experiencing pain in your jaw that's caused you to avoid eating certain foods, straightening your teeth can also make it less painful to chew. That benefit, in turn, allows you to eat a wider variety of nutritious foods, like crisp fresh fruit and vegetables. 

5. Fewer Breaks, Cracks or Chips

When teeth are crooked, they can protrude or stick out in ways that make them more prone to chips or breaks if you fall or hit your mouth. It can also make you more prone to bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek, producing painful sores. 

Because it's difficult to have good oral hygiene when your teeth are crooked, your teeth are also more susceptible to decay and acid that wears away their enamel. Since enamel is the strong barrier that protects your teeth, this wear can make them more susceptible to chips and breaks.

A straight smile offers your teeth better protection from two things — accidents and bacteria. When teeth are straight, they are less likely to have their enamel worn away by bacteria, which keeps them stronger and protects against breaks and cracks. They also aren't sticking out of alignment, which reduces the risk that they will be damaged if your mouth is injured.

6. Less Neck Pain and Fewer Headaches

When teeth aren't aligned properly, it doesn't just impact your jaw — it can affect the muscles and bones all around your face. Crooked teeth tend to result in a misalignment of the jaw because there is extra pressure on the jawbone. This effect is painful in and of itself, but a misaligned jaw can also cause chronic pain in the face and neck. If it gets bad enough, it can also cause painful headaches that reduce your quality of life.

Straightening your teeth allows your jaw to align properly, reducing the stress you're placing on your temporomandibular joints, which connect your jawbone to your skull. With a straight smile, it's easier to bite and chew properly, ultimately reducing the stress on the joints and the muscles connecting the jaw to the skull. As a result, you'll reduce your neck and jaw pain and potentially experience fewer headaches.

7. Improved Speech

Many people don't realize that your teeth play a critical role in your ability to speak. In some cases, people with crooked teeth may have difficulty speaking properly. Crowded teeth or teeth that protrude where they shouldn't make it difficult to form certain sounds or speak clearly. If you are self-conscious about your mouth, you may cover your mouth when you talk, which can also make it more difficult for other people to understand what you're saying.

Straightening your teeth can improve your ability to speak clearly and eloquently. After you gain a straighter smile, you'll probably find it's easier to talk and you aren't repeating yourself as much as you did before.

A straighter smile can make it easier to talk.

You'll also find yourself flashing a smile when you talk rather than covering your mouth, making it easier — and more fun — for people to converse with you. That benefit can help bring about others, like a positive self-image or improved first impressions.

8. Reduced Risk of Oral Injury

Crooked teeth are more likely to get damaged if your mouth is injured. They stick out or are misaligned in such a way that leaves them vulnerable to an impact. If you get hit in the mouth or fall, it's more likely that crooked teeth will be broken or will injure your mouth because they aren't aligned in their proper spots. 

Children and teens who play sports may be especially susceptible because crooked teeth make it difficult to properly wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth. If their mouth guard is not custom-designed for their teeth, it may slide around or be so uncomfortable that they refuse to wear it and risk injury. 

Straight teeth are less likely to cause injury if your mouth is hurt in a fall or some other accident. Because they're in place, your teeth are not as likely to cause pain and damage in other areas of your mouth, reducing the discomfort you feel. It's also easier to fit a mouth guard to straight teeth, which means you may be able to avoid the expense of having a custom mouth guard made for sports.

9. Healthier Jaw and Gums

Crooked teeth make your teeth and jaw work a lot harder to chew and talk. The harder these parts work, the more strain you're putting on the muscles and tissues in and around your mouth. Over time, this can lead to periodontal disease, as well as temporomandibular disorders. 

Healthier Jaw and Gums

These disorders, often referred to as TMD or TMJ, occur when a person experiences chronic problems with jaw movement or jaw pain. The pain and difficulty with movement happen because there is a lot of stress and pressure on the jaw and the muscles and joints that connect the jaw to the skull. 

Symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain in the jaw, neck or face when you chew, talk or open your mouth wide
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide
  • A popping sensation when you open and close your jaw
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Toothaches
  • Dizziness

While you can rely on over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate your discomfort, these won't do anything to actually correct the problem. 

When your teeth are straight, you aren't putting as much pressure on your jaw and all the muscles and joints connected to it. Less pressure then keeps the gums, muscles and joints healthy. This benefit reduces — or even eliminates — the pressure on your jaw and ultimately reduces the symptoms of TMJ. 

TMJ is also often treated by using a night guard, which will fit better if the dentist can fit it over straight teeth rather than crooked ones.

10. Longer Lasting Teeth and Gums

Thinking about having a healthy smile well into the future will help you understand how important straight teeth are. Crooked teeth don't offer the same longevity to a straight smile because they're more susceptible to:

  • Breaks
  • Chips
  • Decay
  • Cavities
  • Flattening of the biting surface
  • Fractures
  • Notching around the gumline

As you age, crooked teeth are not going to hold up as well, and you increase your chances of needing extensive dental work or even having certain teeth pulled. Over time, this may lead to a need to rely on expensive implants or dentures.

On the other hand, straight teeth last longer simply because it's easier to care for them. Straight teeth are easier to clean, preventing the buildup of bacteria or plaque and reducing the areas cavities can hide in. Straight teeth are also easier to floss and brush, ensuring your gums stay healthy and strong. 

Straight teeth are also easier to floss and brush.

A straight smile can also withstand daily and necessary use as you eat and chew. Chewing puts a lot of stress on your teeth's biting surfaces, but healthy teeth can handle the pressure better. Overall, straight teeth are easier to keep healthy and strong, meaning the odds are much better they'll go the distance and keep your mouth healthy for many years to come. 

11. Money Savings

Crooked teeth increase the likelihood that you'll need to undergo expensive dental treatments. If you have crooked teeth, you're more likely to need crowns, implants, dentures or any number of treatments to correct the teeth themselves, as well as conditions that arise because of the crooked teeth. 

While it may seem expensive to pay for aligners or braces, spending that money to correct a problem now will save you a lot of money later. You'll be more likely to avoid costly procedures and surgeries, and you can avoid the expense of implants and dentures later in life. 

12. Happiness Boost

Are crooked teeth unattractive? We hear this question a lot and, if your teeth aren't straight, it's probably one you've asked yourself before, too. The truth is that your happiness shouldn't be based on appearances. 

Your happiness shouldn't be based on appearances.

But if you're self-conscious about the way your teeth look, there's a good chance you haven't been living up to your full potential. Maybe you've been afraid to apply for your dream job. Maybe you've turned down dates you thought wouldn't see past your crooked smile. Or maybe you just haven't had the confidence to really enjoy life the way you'd like to. Whatever the case, opting to straighten your teeth is a great way to make some overdue changes in your life. 

If your crooked teeth have been causing health problems, such as bad headaches or poor digestion, the pain and discomfort you feel have likely caused you some unhappiness. It may also have prevented you from doing the things you love because you didn't feel good enough to do them. When you straighten your teeth, you may find that your happiness increases because you simply feel better and have more energy to do the things you love.

And, if that's not enough to convince you that straight teeth can make you happy, consider this — studies have shown that people who smile more feel happier. If you've got a beautiful, healthy smile, then there's a good chance you'll smile more and feel happier after you do it! 

Maintain Your Teeth-Straightening Appliances With EverSmile

Straight teeth can't fix all of your problems, but there is a lot of evidence that says correcting a crooked smile can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Straightening your teeth doesn't happen overnight, but EverSmile is proud to offer products that make the process easier. 

WhiteFoam is designed to clean clear aligners and retainers so you have fresh breath and clean teeth throughout the day. EverSmile also offers cleaning products for braces, implants, dentures and other dental appliances. Start your journey to healthy teeth and gums, then let EverSmile keep your smile bright and clean throughout the process. Browse our online selection today

Maintain your teeth-straightening appliances with EverSmile.

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  • Why Do Aligners and Retainers Get Holes?

    Why Do Aligners and Retainers Get Holes?

    You wear your aligners almost all day, so it's not surprising that they can become damaged. But, why do aligners and retainers get holes and other damage? There are a few different ways this can happen. Take a look at the guide below to learn...

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  • How to Clean Plastic Retainers

    How to Clean Plastic Retainers

    Retainers are an important part of your orthodontic treatment. Aligners do the heavy lifting by moving your teeth into a straighter position, but retainers are the devices that keep them from shifting back. Your teeth have a muscle memory that makes them want to go...

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  • Can Aligners and Retainers Lead to Cavities?

    Can Aligners and Retainers Lead to Cavities?

    Proper dental care is key to a healthy, happy smile. From a young age, people practice oral hygiene to reduce their risk of cavities and take care of their teeth. If you've started using aligners or retainers, you might be wondering how they affect your...

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  • Wearing a Retainer After Braces: What You Need to Know

    Wearing a Retainer After Braces: What You Need to Know

    Getting a retainer is the last step in your orthodontic treatment. But why do you need to wear a retainer after braces? Once your braces are taken off, your teeth will start to shift slightly. Wearing a retainer holds your teeth in place so they can...

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