The Link Between Orthodontics and Overall Health

A lot of people think that having perfectly straight teeth is important for their looks and having a great smile. That’s true, but it also impacts your overall health. Working with an orthodontist in Melbourne can have health benefits that will last for many years. In fact, the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America found that there are many ways that oral health impacts the whole body. Here are several important ways that orthodontics can impact your overall health.

Preventing Tooth Decay With Orthodontics

Having a straight set of teeth makes it easier to thoroughly clean your teeth. Problems like crowded teeth, crooked teeth or malocclusion can all make it more difficult to brush your teeth properly. These are all issues that can be corrected by working with an orthodontist. When the teeth are misaligned, this allows bits of food and bacteria to hide in spaces that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. That leads to plaque and tartar buildup, and eventually cavities and tooth decay. With straight teeth that are easier to brush, you are much less likely to need a trip to the dentist for fillings or a root canal.

Preventing Gum Disease

Some of the same bacteria that cause the issues described above will eventually lead to gum disease if not addressed. When the bacteria spread below the gum line, gingivitis starts to set in. This is an infection that can cause bleeding, swelling and pain in the gums. If gum disease gets to the point where the supporting tissue that surrounds the tooth roots is impacted, it can cause loosening or even the loss of teeth.

Those issues are bad enough on their own, but the infection from gum disease can make its way into the bloodstream and cause many additional problems in other parts of the body. Gum disease can weaken arterial cells in the heart and cause heart disease. The inflammation from gum disease has also been shown to have a connection to clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Women with gum disease are more at risk of delivering preterm babies.

All of these are good reasons to work with a Melbourne orthodontist to straighten your teeth. Being able to brush a straight set of teeth thoroughly can prevent many health problems down the road.

Preventing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts while someone is sleeping.  Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type) is caused by a blockage in the upper airway.  Many different factors can lead people to develop sleep apnea, and some orthodontic problems can contribute to the condition. Malocclusion is one example. Because sleep apnea disrupts a person’s sleep, it can have many different impacts on their overall health. One obvious problem is that it leads to fatigue, which can impact them at school or work. Another problem is that a lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, which leads to even more problems.

Cases of sleep apnea have to be tackled by several different specialists, but orthodontics can be part of the solution. Correcting a malocclusion can prevent the airway from becoming restricted during sleep in some patients.

Preventing Teeth Grinding

Grinding your teeth at night, which is called bruxism, is another issue that your orthodontist can work with you to help correct or at least protect against. Tooth grinding chips away at the enamel on the teeth, and enamel never grows back. This increases the risk of cavities, tooth decay, and sensitivity or pain in the affected teeth. There are several different ways Dr. Reddick might address teeth grinding, which can range from creating a custom night guard that fits over the teeth, to treatment with braces to realign the teeth properly.

Preventing Dental Trauma

Imagine a basketball player catching an elbow in the teeth during a rebound. If the player has a well positioned set of teeth, the impact is less likely to have significant impacts on one or more teeth. If a couple of teeth are crooked or misaligned (especially positioned too far forward), however, the impact is more likely to be absorbed by those teeth. This can lead to chipped, cracked or broken teeth, which will mean a painful emergency trip to the dentist. Having your orthodontist in Melbourne correct your crooked teeth can help reduce the incidence of dental trauma, especially with certain types of bites.  

Schedule An Appointment at Melbourne Orthodontics Today

If you have a question about orthodontic treatment or think that you or your child is a good candidate for treatment, Contact Us to schedule an appointment today.