Crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious when you smile or speak. And while straightening your teeth can boost your confidence, it can also improve the function of your mouth and reduce your risk for developing diseases that can affect your mouth and overall well-being.

Having crooked teeth isn’t a sign of poor health. The condition can occur when your jaw is too small to place your teeth in a straight line. A facial injury, thumb sucking, pacifier use, or genetics can also make your teeth grow crooked. The result can appear as crowding, overlapping, or one of many bite problems, such as an underbite or crossbite, all of which can make it harder for you to maintain your oral hygiene and stay healthy.

No matter the severity of your crooked teeth, expert orthodontist Emanuel Mizrahi, DDS, of Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates in Forest Hills, New York, can help you achieve a perfect smile and all of its benefits. Dr. Mizrahi has more than 25 years of experience administering orthodontic treatments that include traditional metal braces, natural-looking ceramic braces, and clear Invisalign® aligners.

Read on to learn how straight teeth can help you avoid the discomfort, cost, and conditions that can come with crooked teeth.

Dental hygiene

It’s extremely important to get to all of the chewing surfaces of your mouth by brushing and flossing. Otherwise, bacteria can remain. It only takes a few hours for bacteria to begin forming dental plaque, a clear, sticky film that contains bacteria and acids. Plaque can contribute to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss. When not removed, plaque can mineralize, trap stains on your teeth, and cause discoloration.

However, the uneven surfaces of crooked teeth can be difficult to clean thoroughly. When bacteria remain on hard-to-reach areas, those teeth can become vulnerable to decay. And while misaligned teeth can be difficult to clean, they can also present a challenge when treatment is needed.

Jaw stress and TMJ

Crooked teeth can affect your jawline and temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint located on both sides of your face in front of your ears. When your teeth are out of alignment, the condition can force your lower jaw to protrude in an unnatural position. This can stress the TMJ area, which can result in facial pain, clicking jaws, headaches, and ringing in your ears.

Proper orthodontic treatment can correct an uneven jawline. Straightening misaligned teeth can help lessen pain and position your mouth so you can talk, chew, and rest more comfortably.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs when plaque remains on the gumline. This condition ranks as the most common cause of tooth loss among all adults. While gum disease isn’t unique to people with crooked teeth, it can be harder to prevent if you have misaligned teeth.

When bacteria remain on the gumline, plaque can form and attack the gum tissue holding your teeth in place. As the plaque grows, it can cause sore and bleeding gums, painful chewing, and bad breath. Eventually, bacteria in the plaque can create small holes in the gum tissue. The bacteria can then enter these spaces and attack the bone and tissue that support your teeth, causing the affected teeth to loosen and fall out.

Increased health risks

Improper brushing and flossing due to crooked teeth can allow bacteria to linger on surfaces you can’t reach. As the bacteria grows, it can cause your teeth and gum tissue to deteriorate. These damaged areas offer opportunities for bacteria to enter your bloodstream and infect the rest of your body.

Research has identified links between periodontal disease and several serious health conditions, including a higher incidence of stroke and heart disease. Patients with periodontal disease also have a higher likelihood of contracting bacterial pneumonia and delivering preterm and low birthweight babies.

Misaligned teeth can also affect your general well-being and interfere with healthy lifestyle choices. When crooked teeth cause painful eating and chewing, it can affect what you eat and limit your ability to choose a balanced diet. If your imperfect mouth makes you uncomfortable speaking and interacting with others, you may also limit your daily activities and interactions with others.

Don’t risk your oral and physical health by ignoring crooked teeth. Find out more about the benefits of a perfect smile by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Forest Hills Orthodontic Associates today.