Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Having braces fitted has many health benefits — so it’s worth starting early

Having braces fitted has many health benefits — so it’s worth starting early

ALTHOUGH many people believe that orthodontic treatments are primarily for cosmetic purposes, having braces fitted also has many health benefits, writes Dr Sameer Patel of Blandy House Dental Practice.

The biggest growth in adult dentistry in recent years is now braces. I would like to offer advice on how orthodontics can prevent a build-up of harmful bacteria, and why it can be beneficial to consider treatment early.

1. Keep tooth decay at bay

Quite simply, if teeth are misaligned it makes them harder to brush and floss properly. Poor oral hygiene is linked to a wealth of problems such as an increased risk of cavities, bad breath and gum disease and if certain surfaces of the teeth do not receive proper cleaning, the result is a need for fillings, root canals, extractions and other expensive procedures.

Opting for braces can provide a long-term solution to keeping your teeth clean, and improving the overall health of your mouth without the need for uncomfortable treatments.

2. Combat the causes of gingivitis

Complications in dental hygiene caused by crooked teeth and overcrowding can also impact on the health of the gums. Gingivitis — the early form of gum disease — affects over half of adults in the UK and is mainly caused by the build-up of plaque and bacteria. I advise visiting an orthodontist at around eight years old to pinpoint any problematic areas and recommend corrective orthodontics before issues develop.

3. Lower your risk of developing heart disease

Statistically, people who have braces as a child or teen have a lower incidence of heart disease. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to a condition called periodontitis which affects the tissues that support teeth and encourages the growth of harmful bacteria.

If these enter the bloodstream, they can be a cause of strokes, heart disease and diabetes, which emphasises the health benefits of having straight teeth.

4. It’s a numbers game

Most children have braces between the ages of 11 and 14, depending on their dental development. However, there are a small percentage of children that need early interceptive treatment/
phase one, so that when they have phase two orthodontics in their early teen years, the orthodontics is much easier. Thumb-sucking, small lower or upper jaws or very protrusive upper front teeth are all common reasons why children require interceptive orthodontic treatment around the ages of seven to nine years old.

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