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Why braces are good for your health

When people come to Harwood Dental Care to find out about braces in Greater Manchester, there is always a driving reason behind why they want straighter teeth.

For some people, it’s a question of aesthetics – they want their teeth to look better and more uniform and are tired of feeling self-conscious. Other people are dissatisfied with the function of their teeth; they might not be able to bite or chew properly, or find that they constantly have trouble with gum disease because they can’t clean every tooth effectively. Occasionally, people have a nagging sense that their crooked teeth could in some way be contributing to health problems.

The reality is that alignment problems with your teeth can be a factor behind a number of health issues.

It is generally harder to clean crooked teeth effectively, especially if you have teeth that are crowded or overlap. In turn, this can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, which cause problems such as bleeding and receding gums, bad breath, tooth loss and bone loss.

Gum disease and repeated dental infections are known to put pressure on the heart, contributing towards cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and even some types of cancer (experts believe periodontal disease raises the number of oral bacteria, gastric acidity and nitrosamines in the oral cavity, all of which are cancer-provoking agents that increase the number of carcinogens in the body). In addition, gum disease can lead to pregnancy complications.

Poorly aligned teeth can also cause problems such as headaches, jaw joint pain and neck ache. Many people find this then disrupts their sleep, concentration and even – in the case of neck pain – their posture.

Having straighter teeth can help alleviate many of these problems. People generally discover that, when their teeth are in alignment, they are easier to clean and stop gum disease in its tracks; they also find that aches and pains they have lived with for years significantly improve or even disappear.

We see a lot of adults looking for braces in Greater Manchester or other discreet teeth straightening options. Often, patients are shocked to discover just how important braces could be for improving their overall wellbeing.

We shouldn’t forget the psychological and emotional impact of wearing braces too. The journey towards straighter teeth often fades into insignificance when compared to the self-confidence that people discover at the end of their treatment.

We see patients who have spent their whole life hiding their smile, refusing to be photographed with their children or developing mannerisms to distract people from their teeth. Braces give these people a new lease of life, enabling them to smile freely for the first time since childhood in some cases.

And smiles have a host of health benefits of their own. Research shows that when you smile, it sets off a ‘positivity loop’. In other words, your smiling muscles contract and send signals to your brain, which then releases endorphins. These endorphins give you a rush of joy that one study likened to receiving ’16,000 pounds Sterling in cash’ and more pleasure than a piece of chocolate. This feeling of joy makes you smile and so on.

A famous yearbook study tracked the lives of women who were considered to have the ‘best’ smiles compared to their peers. The study found that the women who smiled the most and expressed positive emotions more easily lived happier lives, had happier relationships and suffered fewer setbacks in life.

A baseball card study found that people who regularly show a ‘Duchenne’ smile live, on average, seven years longer than people who rarely smile. A Duchenne smile is defined as ‘a genuine, full-faced expression of happiness indexed by the degree to which the muscles surrounding one’s eyes are contracted, i.e. crinkled’.

Evidence would suggest that smiling can lower your heart rate, reduce stress, improve your mood, increase productivity, encourage trust, produce empathy, boost your immune system, decrease pain, and improve relationships.

It’s all compelling stuff that just go to show that braces really are good for your health.

If you’re looking for braces in Greater Manchester and want to discuss how orthodontic teeth-straightening treatment might improve the health and appearance of your teeth, book an appointment by calling 01204 304 568.

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