Did you know that having overlapping (or crowded) teeth can affect your overall health?
It may seem crazy but a study done by the Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics evaluated the risk of harmful bacteria gathering around your teeth when they are overlapping. They found that even with as little as 3mm of crowding of the lower anterior teeth, there is more risk for developing chronic inflammation of the gums. Chronic problems like periodontal disease are usually not painful and they get worse with time. It is only at a later age that the manifestations of the process that has been going on for years and even decades becomes noticeable.
This is exactly what happens with crowding of the teeth. When the teeth are overlapping it is much harder to clean, brush and floss the teeth. They accumulate more plaque and tartar which, in turn, causes accumulation of bacteria. As the tartar builds up the type of bacteria in the gums changes from aerobic (bacteria that need oxygen to survive) to anaerobic (bacteria that survive without oxygen). These anaerobic bacteria have been linked to some very scary diseases such as coronary heart disease. The journal of Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology published a study in 2003 where they found "Periodontal disease appears to be associated with a 19% increase in risk of future cardiovascular disease". This risk is most prominent in people who are 65 years or younger.
What does this mean for you?
Just like everything else in life, prevention is the best, most affordable and most effective treatment. Periodontal disease can have many causes including your oral habits, genetics and how much crowding you have. There is not much you can do about genetics, but you can easily correct the crowding of lower anterior teeth with invisalign. By correcting the crowding you will decrease the chances of harboring harmful bacteria under your gums and around your teeth. These bacteria can not only lead to tooth loss and gum disease, but can have serious repercussions for your overall health as you get older. It is worth an investment now to prevent harmful periodontal disease for many years to come.
More and more adults are discovering that getting straight teeth does not mean having to wear ugly braces for years. As invisalign braces are becoming more commonplace, it is much easier to get your teeth straight in a reasonably short period of time. Most adults have to wear invisalign for about 12 months and the cost of braces can be spread over many months to make it more affordable than ever.