Beyond improving appearance and self-esteem, numerous health advantages accompany treatment with braces and corrective appliances such as palate expanders and space maintainers. In addition to preventing serious tooth and jaw issues later in life, correcting misaligned teeth with braces and appliances can improve oral hygiene, facilitate better chewing to allow the body to absorb more nutrients from food, and even reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. What’s more, the earlier your child receives orthodontic treatment, the more likely they are to reap the resulting health benefits.
Better chewing, better nutrient absorption
Proper alignment of the jaws and teeth helps every part of the body grow, not just the mouth. You already know that your child’s healthy development depends heavily on the building blocks you give them in the form of food, but what about how they process and digest their food? Correcting bite problems improves chewing, which is the first step of digestion. Chewing increases the surface area of food, and well-chewed food is both easier for the body to break down and facilitates improved nutrient absorption. If your child’s bite or teeth are out of line, they may not be getting the most out of the food they eat when they need it most: during their formative years when growth and development are taking place at a rapid pace. Thus, proper nutrition and nutrient absorption (or a lack thereof in the absence of corrective treatment) can have profound effects on your child’s short-term and long-term health.
Healthy habits, healthier bodies
Braces and corrective appliances can help children practice better oral hygiene, helping them develop important lifelong habits such as daily brushing and flossing. Properly spaced teeth are easier to brush and floss, boosting oral health and reducing the incidence of cavities and tooth decay and thus the need for fillings, root canals or tooth extraction down the road. Practicing good oral hygiene also helps maintain healthy soft tissues in the mouth, preventing gingivitis and other gum diseases.
Optimal oral care has systemic benefits far beyond teeth, and studies have indicated a link between poor oral health and diabetes. One study found that patients with periodontal disease were twice as likely to develop diabetes.
According to ongoing research, maintaining good oral health may even reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the plaque that builds up on inadequately brushed and flossed teeth contains bacteria that can travel from the mouth to the lungs, creating new lung infections or aggravating existing ones.
Proactive health from an early age
Like any health-related endeavour, when it comes to orthodontics, taking a proactive approach to treating your child can make a world of difference. Unlike general dentists, orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up by the age of seven. By age seven, your child’s teeth will have developed enough for the specialists at Docbraces to spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth. At this age, they’re also able to suggest preventative treatment or make recommendations that will ensure your child’s healthy development.
To learn more about the advantages of braces and appliances, download the FREE Parent’s Guide to the Benefits of Braces.