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Waking up with headaches and acid reflux? You may need to talk to your dentist about getting braces

Did you know that having misaligned teeth can create preventable health issues?

While there is an undeniable bias in society aimed at people whose teeth are not perfectly straight, there are multiple other reasons why dental patients who have crooked teeth should seek out orthodontic treatment.

Although many adults worry about the cost and discomfort associated with orthodontic procedures, many dental surgeries that offer adult orthodontic options, like Six Month Smiles in Northern Ireland, are able to offer payment plans or financing. Also, while it is common to become concerned about discomfort and dental procedures, cosmetic braces offered to adults rarely cause discomfort, making them ideal for busy adults and teenagers.

But what are the risks of not undertaking treatments like Six Month Smiles in Northern Ireland?

Poor digestion

Our teeth are the first part of our digestive system and are there to break the food down into a swallowable size.

Just like gears in a machine, if they are all perfectly aligned, the machine will run smoothly. If, however, the gears are sticking out at odd angles, with some not even touching or lining up, it is not likely the machine will function correctly.

Misaligned teeth have been linked to poorer digestion of food, which leads to issues with absorption and digestive complications like acid reflux and indigestion.

Higher risk of gum disease and decay

Misaligned teeth are harder to brush correctly.

While many people who have crooked teeth believe they are brushing thoroughly, due to the unusual positioning of their teeth, it is practically impossible to reach all of the areas where plaque and bacteria can accumulate, creating the perfect environment for decay and periodontal disease.

It goes without saying that there are only 2 options to resolve this; pay for regular hygienist visits  or seek out a more long term orthodontic procedure.

Temporomandibular joint disorder

Also linked to misaligned teeth is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Caused by the teeth grinding together as you sleep, this condition can facilitate erosion and wearing down of tooth enamel, cause pain in the jaw muscles and even lead to headaches.

When people who suffer from TMJ start orthodontic treatment, they report a reduction in these symptoms, as their teeth now slot together correctly, allowing their jaw to rest properly during slumber.

If you frequently have jaw pain or headaches in the morning, you should discuss orthodontic options with your dentist.

Migraines

An unsettled jaw causes tightening of the muscles in the face, neck and upper shoulders.

Overworked or strained muscles in these areas put you at a higher risk of suffering from chronic migraine headaches, which are a serious neurological disorder.

Misaligned teeth have also been linked to cluster headaches.

Disturbed sleep

Misaligned teeth plus sleep can equal obstructive sleep apnoea, caused by the lower jaw falling too far back during rest and obstructing the windpipe.

This is not only disruptive for restful sleep but can also be life threatening, as the body becomes temporarily deprived of oxygen through the night.