Remember the saying, “The eyes are the window to the soul?” We’re hijacking that old phrase and giving it a new spin: Your oral health is the window to your overall health.
We know that may sound strange, but stick with us while we explain.
A growing body of evidence continues to prove a connection exists between your oral health and your systemic health. That means what’s going on in your mouth can be an indicator of problems elsewhere in your body.
Let’s say you have a bad bite, such as deep bite or cross bite, and that causes some of your teeth to routinely rub against your gum line. Over time, your teeth will cause your gums in that area to recede if you don’t have the problem corrected. This paves the way to periodontal - or gum – disease. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and bone that surround your teeth.
Untreated periodontal disease can lead to a whole host of systemic problems. Numerous studies have shown a connection exists between periodontal disease and heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. It also can worsen existing heart conditions. Other studies draw a connection between periodontal disease and stroke.
What happens in the mouth also affects diabetics. Research has suggested a connection exists between diabetes and periodontal disease, and that the connection goes both ways. Diabetics who also have gum disease may have more difficulty controlling blood sugar.
So what does all of this have to do with orthodontics? A lot, says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky. Teeth that are crowded and crooked pose a greater challenge when it comes to keeping them clean. They provide more crevices in which food particles can hide and plaque can develop. Plaque can lead to periodontal disease. And as we’ve just outlined above, periodontal disease can lead to heart disease, stroke and other systemic illnesses.
Let’s say you practice excellent oral hygiene, but you have a deep bite or a cross bite and it has caused gum recession. You might blame yourself and erroneously believe you weren’t taking good enough care of your teeth, when the truth is you have a condition that no amount of brushing and flossing would have prevented. Instead, orthodontic treatment is needed to correct the problem.
It’s easy to look at orthodontics as being a cosmetic procedure. Many of us tend to fixate on the cosmetic improvements, and how a pretty smile can boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
But beneath the beauty of an improved smile lies myriad health reasons for orthodontic treatment. Let’s not forget those. Having a beautiful smile is good. Having a beautiful smile that also happens to keep you healthier is better.