By Dr. Raj Gohill

October is here! This is the month of Halloween, school work in full gear, and the World Series – but it is also National Orthodontic Health Month. The team at Gohill Orthodontics wanted to help raise awareness and promote dental health and particularly orthodontic health. Many would love to have straight teeth but not all are aware of the many benefits beyond just having an attractive smile. There is the obvious and invaluable self-esteem and confidence boost people get from their new smile. But there are other benefits that we may not be aware of.

When our teeth are straight they are much easier to clean. Clean teeth mean less gum disease. Research has shown that gum disease or periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and premature or low birth weight babies.

Having a great a smile gives the individual a sense of confidence that has been shown to lead to higher rates of job promotions, accepted business deals, and successful job interviews compared to people who had crooked teeth or that smiled less. This comes from both the confidence one gets from a great smile but also from how they are perceived on the first impression. Smiling helps you feel better overall, puts you in a better mood, and is contagious to those around you.

Having orthodontic treatment can also prevent injury or damage to the teeth. Some young people have top front teeth that stick out too far and they are not able to close their lips properly. These teeth are prone to be damaged, chipped or knocked out- which is more of a concern for the active young children.

Healthy jaw alignment allows the teeth to fit together properly, making chewing easier and more comfortable with less muscle strain for the jaws, shoulders, and neck. Without proper jaw, alignment teeth can wear down, chip or even fracture. The airway can also be improved and a reduction in snoring can be achieved from poor jaw alignment that has been corrected.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist at the age of 7. This is to make sure that the bite and teeth growing in are issue free but also to identify any developing problems. These issues may simply need to be monitored or when indicated, may need treatment at the appropriated time for that particular child.

Orthodontics is not just for children and teenagers. More and more adults are in orthodontic treatment than ever before. One is never too old to start orthodontic treatment nor do they have too complicated a case – they just need to have a desire to have straight teeth and a healthy bite. Advances have been made in less noticeable ways to straighten teeth- such as clear aligners (Invisalign) and ceramic braces. This has made it easier for many adults to seek treatment.

With all the marketing and misinformation that is now common online, there can be some confusion. The AAO has been helping patients and consumers by raising awareness of the difference and benefit of seeking orthodontic care from an orthodontic specialist versus the general dentist. Who is moving your teeth and overseeing your treatment is a crucial factor to consider.

In celebration of National Orthodontic Health Month if you, your family member or loved one are interested in having that great smile and healthy bite they have always wanted, schedule an orthodontic evaluation with an orthodontic specialist. An awesome smile is priceless.

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