Do you look in the mirror and see crooked teeth? Does it bother you? If so, there are options to straighten out crooked teeth. However, if you see uneven teeth and you’re happy with your smile, then treatment for crooked teeth is not entirely necessary, at least from a cosmetic standpoint.
But what about crooked teeth being unhealthy? Is there any way that they can contribute to oral health? I’m asked this question in the office from time to time. And the answer is yes, they may. Not so much in the short term. But over a longer period of time crooked teeth may detract from oral health.
What causes crooked teeth?
There are various reasons for crooked teeth. One theory is that a modern-day diet consisting primarily of processed foods does not contain enough minerals to support a healthy jaw, leading to crooked and crowded teeth. There is also a genetic component (people whose parents had uneven teeth are more likely to inherit this trait). Additionally, habits like thumb sucking and teeth grinding also play a part in teeth crookedness.
Can teeth crookedness lead to poor oral health?
If you have crooked teeth, you could be a little more prone to gum disease and cavities. So, why is this?
The reason is because teeth that are crooked are generally more difficult to clean. Even when you think you’re cleaning them, you may be leaving plaque in areas where bacteria get trapped.
Remember, plaque is that sticky bacterial substance that builds up on teeth and releases toxins that are acidic. These acids irritate the gum tissue. Once the tissue gets irritated, it affects the bone around our teeth. The bone can dissolve as a result of this, and it’s actually the most common cause of tooth loss.
Do I need to fix my teeth if they’re crooked?
If you’re really struggling to keep crooked teeth clean properly in those nooks and crannies, then these could be sites where gum disease begins. If there is plaque building up there, it’s also an area where cavities could form as well, and that can become a real problem. The cavities can form in areas that are very hard to access. They can be difficult to fix.
So, these are very real concerns with crooked teeth. It really depends on how susceptible you are to gum disease and cavities. You may be susceptible to both or to one or the other.
Even if you’re not developing tooth decay, if there’s plaque that builds up, and it could contribute to bad breath. You could struggle to understand why. It could just be a bacterial plaque buildup problem where it’s not getting removed.
Can crooked teeth lead to heart disease?
Now, here’s the thing. The mouth is the gateway to the body. So, teeth that aren’t straight can potentially even cause damage that extends beyond the mouth. Gum disease has been implicated in and connected to heart disease and stroke. How is that?
Bacteria from gum disease can get into the bloodstream and travel very quickly throughout the body. It makes sense. You have gums that are bleeding, so that’s an open doorway for the bacteria to get into the body from the gums. And these bacteria are toxic. They can travel through and adhere to certain structures in the body, including in the heart. And as a result, they can damage those areas and cause inflammation.
So, could we say that crooked teeth can lead to heart disease? Well, it might be a stretch, but it could indirectly be a contributor if you have gum disease that results from or is aggravated by teeth that are crooked.
Why get treatment to straighten teeth?
There are a number of reasons to consider straighter teeth and a better smile. It starts with how you feel and how confident you are. There are some real health benefits, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. And then of course it extends to physical health and oral health and your ability to keep your mouth clean and healthy. It could even go beyond that to the rest of your body if it’s contributing to gum disease that’s difficult to control.
No matter what the concern is, if you have crooked teeth and you’re interested in finding out what can be done, we at Express Dentist do have a trusted network of dentists and orthodontists that we can reach out to. If you contact us, we can put you in touch with someone that you feel comfortable with and you trust and has been vetted in our network. In the meantime, keep smiling, stay healthy, and all the best.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.