Today, approximately four million people in the United States wear braces.
They wear them for a multitude of reasons, from better dental health to improved confidence. While there are many adults and children wearing braces, we often think of teen braces.
Seven Benefits of Wearing Teen Braces
The teen years are the prime time for wearing braces. All adult teeth have come in. Teens also usually have fewer obligations than adults, allowing them time to focus on their teen braces.
Let’s take a look at seven major benefits that come with teen braces.
1. Better Dental Health
Crooked teeth hinder a person’s ability to properly care for their teeth. Proper brushing and flossing are more difficult, sometimes even impossible. Because your teen cannot properly brush or floss, food can become wedged between teeth.
Plaque and bacteria then build up, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Braces straighten out teeth so they’re easier to clean and take care of.
2. Tooth Protection
Teen braces don’t just prevent the likes of tooth decay. They also promote tooth protection.
Poor tooth alignment can lead to teeth sticking out. When teeth stick out, they’re more susceptible to injuries while playing sports and enjoying other physical activities. A mere soccer ball to the face could mean the breaking or total loss of adult teeth.
Braces realign teeth so they don’t stick out and thus aren’t as receptive to damage. Definitely a plus if your teen participates in track and field!
3. Improved Biting and Eating
The layout of your teeth affects how you eat.
When your teeth are shifted to one side, you tend to eat using only that side. The result is increased stress on that side of your mouth.
Additionally, very crooked teeth make biting off and chewing a chore. As a result, they influence the foods a person is likely to choose. For example, someone with extremely crooked teeth is more likely to choose ice cream, a soft food, over an apple.
Making poor nutrition choices always cycles back around. In the first place, choosing unhealthy foods lead to weight gain, less energy, health problems, and other negative side effects.
In the second, constantly eating ice cream or easily broken chips coat your teeth with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. When you can’t properly brush or floss, those ingredients lead to the increased likelihood of tooth decay and other dental problems.
4. Better Sleeping and Breathing
This one is an unexpected benefit of wearing teen braces.
Poorly aligned and crooked teeth impact your ability to sleep and breathe properly. The palate and breadth of the upper jaw influence your ability to breathe through your nose.
Poor tooth structure can block your air passage. As a result, you won’t be able to breathe well while sleeping. In turn, you’ll constantly wake up in the middle of the night due to labored breathing.
Braces will help open up those passages so you can breathe well and get a good night of sleep.
5. Improved Speech
Part of your ability to talk comes from the placement of your teeth. In order to make certain sounds, your teeth need to be in their proper positions.
Poor tooth structure results in slurred and incomprehensible speech. Sometimes, crooked and misaligned teeth only produce a whistling or lisping noise. In more severe cases, however, they can lead to the development of speech impediments.
Braces will shift teeth into their proper position so your teen can speak clearly and be understood.
6. Reduced Pain
Poor tooth structure can also lead to the grinding of the teeth.
Grinding is typically thought of an emotional action, much like biting yourself or picking at cuticles. If you have a tooth out of alignment, you may likewise be tempted to rub your other teeth against it.
Grinding has a few different side effects. The first is unnecessary wear on your teeth. Continued and constant wear will eventually lead to problems with the teeth in question. Such problems include lost enamel and tooth chips and breaks.
The second is increased pressure on your jaw–specifically the temporomandibular joints (TMJs for short). TMJs are the joints that hinge your lower jaw to your skull.
Increased pressure on these joints leads to jaw pain. Additionally, these joints are connected to your head near the neck area. As such, the pain can spread to them, leading to headaches and neck and shoulder paint.
7. Improved Confidence
Despite all of the health-related benefits, many elect to get braces simply to increase their self-confidence.
One of the first features new people notice about you is your smile. Is it pleasant to look at? Does it feel genuine?
Your smile affects whether or not others want to be around you. If you refuse to smile, others assume you aren’t happy in their presence and thus don’t want to be around them. As such, having crooked or poorly aligned teeth makes many feel less confident as well as self-conscious about their smile.
For teens, that goes double. The changes in their bodies already make them very self-conscious of their appearance. The last thing they need to worry about is whether or not their crooked teeth make them look “stupid” or “ugly.”
It’s true that wearing big, metal brackets on your teeth can also make you feel self-conscious. It’s important to keep in mind, though, brace wear typically only lasts a few years. Compare that to a lifetime of crooked teeth, health problems, and constantly feeling self-conscious.
Another thing to keep in mind is there are options when it comes to teen braces now. The metal brackets are, of course, available, but there are also Invisalign braces.
These braces consist of a clear, plastic mold that you wear on your teeth. You can pop them out at any time. And best of all, they’re totally unnoticeable!
Want To Give Your Teen Braces? Schedule An Appointment!
At Kuperman Orthodontics, we understand the positive impact that braces have on a person’s life. We offer a variety of braces, from traditional metal brackets to Invisalign braces.
If you, your teen, or some other member of your family is in need of braces, contact us to schedule an appointment today!
Do you know another benefit of teen braces? Do you have a story about them? Tell us in the comments below!