Crooked or overcrowded teeth are incredibly common across people of all ages. Some of these people may feel self-conscious about their crooked grin, while others can feel a greater sense of individuality. But either way, your dentist in Hagerstown wants those with crooked teeth to know and understand that there are risks that often go hand-in-hand with a crooked smile.
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Before we dive into the trouble with crooked teeth, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.
- Sucking your thumb or prolonged use of a pacifier as a child
- Early tooth loss before an adult tooth is ready to erupt
- A small jaw
- Facial injury
- Mouth breathing
- Incorrect tongue posture
Oral & Overall Health Concerns Related to Crooked Teeth
- Gum disease – Crooked teeth can be difficult to care for and thoroughly clean in between each and every tooth. As your dentist in Hagerstown knows, good oral hygiene is the best way to protect your teeth against problems such as cavities. But when someone can’t brush or floss properly, the chance of decay increases. And that’s not all. When bacteria are left to linger they not only affect the teeth but the gums as well. Too much bacteria can lead to gum disease which, if left untreated, can cause problems throughout the rest of the body such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
- Dental Damage and Jaw Pain – Often crooked teeth cause people to put too much pressure or unnatural wear and tear on the teeth and supporting muscles in the jaw. This can lead to an increased risk of dental damage, such as chipped or cracked teeth, as well as jaw pain or TMJ/TMD.
- Digestion problems – Believe it or not, the problems of crooked teeth go beyond the mouth alone. In fact, because crooked teeth can make it difficult to properly chew food, digestion can also ultimately be affected by crooked teeth.
- Speech development – While this may be more apparent in children, crooked teeth can affect the way we speak and may cause us to mispronounce certain sounds.
- Sleep Apnea – One of the lesser-known side effects of crooked or overlapping teeth is sleep apnea. It’s pretty common for those with crooked teeth to also have a narrow jaw, as the two often occur together. This can make it hard to breathe or force people to breathe through their mouths. But when we mouth-breathe during sleep, and when our jaw is too narrow for our tongue to fit properly, we tend to snore. Snoring is one of the common signs of sleep apnea- a very serious condition that causes its sufferers to stop breathing during sleep and increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
When Should You Consider Orthodontic Treatment?
The decision to pursue orthodontic treatment should be made between you and your Hagerstown dentist. If you’re concerned with your teeth or suspect that their crookedness puts you at risk for health problems, the best place to start is to schedule an appointment.