9 Ways an Orthodontist Can Improve Your Health


When most people think of going to the orthodontist, they think only of straightening their teeth, not necessarily improving their health in any tangible way. The truth is, however, that having a bad bite and crooked teeth can actually affect your health. There are a number of issues that can be solved simply by having your teeth straightened and aligned using braces or Invisalign. You might not even realize that these things are issues until they are solved. Here are nine of the ways that seeing an orthodontist can improve your health by having your teeth straightened.

1. Neck and shoulder pain

Did you know that the imbalance in your mouth can easily translate to imbalance in the rest of your body? Because the neck and shoulders are so close to and are involved in the same motions as the jaw, strain on that jaw caused by misaligned teeth can lead to strain and eventually pain in the neck and shoulders. Whether you are tensing your jaw to keep your teeth from grinding or you are actually grinding your teeth, you are causing problems in your shoulder and neck areas which will go away when the issues with your teeth are solved.

2. Headaches

If you suffer from chronic headaches, this could be due to your teeth. People who grind their teeth when they sleep, for example, are more prone to headaches than people who do not grind their teeth. The system of muscles, tendons, bones, and joints that govern your jaw and your teeth can easily become tensed. This tension will easily create a headache. If you are feeling the pressure or stinging headaches in your temples, behind your eyes, or at the base of the head, these are likely due to issues in your mouth that can be remedied by an orthodontist.

3. Sleep issues

Having issues with your teeth and jaw can affect your ability to sleep properly. Not having the proper alignment for your jaw could exacerbate issues like sleep apnea, which already make it difficult for you to breathe. The less air you get while you are sleeping, the worse that sleep is going to be. If you are experiencing this kind of issue, corrective treatments can be a good way to get more air while you are sleep and ultimately have a better sleep. Improving how your jaw hangs, for example, is one of the best ways to deal with these sleep issues.

4. Oral hygiene

When your teeth are not properly aligned, they can be very difficult to clean and to keep clean. Some teeth are too close together, other teeth are too far apart. If your teeth are crowded in one area, for example, bacteria and food particles can become easily trapped in the crowding. While you might floss and brush your teeth regularly, these areas are still more likely to develop issues like gingivitis and cavities. Straightening your teeth and moving teeth that overlap or that have large gaps in between them can solve many of these issues.

5. IBS

If you have irritable bowel syndrome, your problems may begin in the mouth. The mouth is the very first stage of your digestive tract, and if your teeth are not properly aligned, you might not be chewing your food as well as you need to in order for it to be properly digested further down the line. In addition, crooked teeth contribute to poor oral hygiene, which further exacerbates issues with your digestive health. If you can improve your oral hygiene and realign your teeth with braces or Invisalign so they are better at chewing the food that you eat, you may be able to alleviate some of the problems your digestive system has.

6. Sinus issues

Because your sinuses and your mouth are so closely linked, it makes sense that issues with your teeth and jaw would affect your sinuses. If you often find that you have a difficult time breathing properly, it could because the current structure of your teeth make it almost impossible. Adjusting the structure of your mouth with the right orthodontic treatments can help to open up constricted air ways and is another way an orthodontist can improve your health.

7. TMJ

Have you ever heard a little clicking noise in the joint between your jaw and your skull? This is the joint that actually allows your jaw to move. Any pain, tenderness, or clicking in this area indicates an issue with this joint. Grinding of the teeth and other issues that are commonly caused by misaligned teeth can kick this joint out of alignment, too. Orthodontic treatments can help to relax the muscles and tendons in this area, so that the joint falls into a more comfortable and natural alignment.

8. Makes dental work easier

Keeping your teeth cleaner will not just be easier for you if your teeth are perfectly aligned, it will also be easier for your dentist. When you have a straight smile, most dental work that you need will be easier for your dentist, whether it is drilling cavities, applying crowns, or installing bridges. When your teeth are crowded in on one another, all of these can be difficult. Orthodontic treatment makes these much, much easier tasks. Yet, another way an orthodontist can improve your health.

9. Improved self-esteem

When your teeth are crooked, you might not like to smile or show off your teeth. It can lead to anxiety even when just talking to people. When you teeth are straight, however, there is no anxiety about smiling, talking, or anything else that shows off your teeth. Improved self-esteem can help improve mental health and an overall sense of well-being.