As we approach the beginning of the new year, it is customary to prepare a mental (or literal) list of aspirations. What are some of the goals that you’d like to achieve in 2018? Perhaps they may include: eating healthier foods, losing weight, career advancements, building upon new and current relationships, or spending more time with family. In the spirit of New Years Resolutions, I advocate that oral health certainly deserves a place on your list. Getting in your bi-annual dental checkup/exam is so important to add to your routine. If you are wrinkling your face at the thought of getting a dental cleaning, try to think hard about what is holding you back. Feel free to review my post on stress and relaxation, as well!
Did you know that it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 muscles to frown? Why work so hard… let me give you a few reasons to smile with ease! I will be the first to say that a little bit goes a long way in terms of preventative healthcare measures. Furthermore, as an orthodontist, I’d like to share how orthodontics fits in to support whole-body health and a healthy foundation.
In no specific order, here’s my top-ten list of why orthodontics is an essential ingredient in shaping a happy and healthy YOU:
10 – Longevity: dental crowding leads to gum disease, inflammation, and a decreased capacity to achieve clean teeth. Having aligned teeth prevents and controls dental decay and gum disease. As the saying goes, health is wealth.
9 – Functionality: form follows function when it comes to achieving a healthy bite relationship. Traumatic occlusions (bites) can harm your teeth and cause tooth loss or pain in the long-term.
8 – Happiness and Self-Esteem: Did you know the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment increased by 24% in the last 20 years or so? More than 1/3 of American adults are unhappy with their smile. Also 80% of teens in the US are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. There’s no better time than the present to turn that frown upside down.
7 – Chew and Enjoy your Food: one of the most basic reasons that we have teeth is to break down the foods we love, which supports digestion and distribution of nutrients. Our teeth and chewing muscles work together to tear, shred and grind food into smaller pieces to enhance absorption. We’ll talk more about diet and healthy eating in my next post (while we’re on the topic of New Year’s Resolutions)!
6 – Habit control: finger biting and thumb-sucking have many negative side effects including front teeth flaring or spacing out, developing an open bite or tongue thrust, as well as increasing risks of infection. In addition, a mouth breathing habit may develop as consequence, which may negatively alter facial growth patterns in kids.
5 – Blocked out teeth: we call these impactions. 3rd molars (wisdom teeth) are the most common blocked out teeth, but this can also occur with other teeth such as a canine (I-tooth). Orthodontics, sometimes in conjunction with oral surgery, may be indicated to rope those teeth in!
4 – Cosmetics, Facial Balance and Beauty: Maybe this one is obvious?! Many want to improve upon a narrow smile or crooked/rotated teeth, and achieve your best self! Orthodontists address not just your teeth, but we consider your entire face in determining a harmonic smile that complements your features.
3 – Comfort: Having your teeth positioned in their standard relationship helps prevent tooth or muscle aches. Keep in mind that sometimes patients with facial pain may need to see a TMD/orofacial pain specialist for a comprehensive understanding of their condition.
2 – Smile your Way to Success with Confidence: People with aligned teeth feel more integrated with society. Did you know that 78% of Americans perceive adults with crooked teeth to be unsuccessful? Ouch.
1 – Finding Love and Enhancing your Relationships: I’ll offer one final statistic. 77% of women think having crooking teeth is worse than a receding hairline when seeking a potential love interest! Crazy but true, first impressions DO matter.
So if you or a loved one is interested in improving their self-esteem, body image or overall health I encourage them to start the year off with an orthodontic consultation! There is no better day than today. As always, I am here to answer any of your orthodontic-related questions! Happy New Year, and I hope that 2018 brings you the gifts of health, joy, and celebration of the big and little things that life has to offer.