How Straight Teeth Can Sustain Your Overall Health

January 11, 2017
J. Courtney Gorman, DDS, MS

How Straight Teeth Can Sustain Your Overall Health

You make my heart smile. Now that the holidays are behind us, we’re about to be inundated with mushy lines like that through Valentine’s Day. But what if I told you it wasn’t that far off from the truth? What if I told you bad teeth can create other health problems? What if I told you that creating a better, healthier smile could also give you a better, healthier heart?

It’s true. Healthier teeth can mean a healthier heart, and here’s how.

How Healthy Teeth Can Affect Your Heart

The majority of our patients come to us to correct some sort of malocclusion—orthodontist speak for a misalignment of the teeth and jaws. But many don’t initially realize that straightening their teeth can actually improve their overall health.

Malocclusions, like crowding, spacing, overjet, open bite, overbite, underbite, or crossbite, can all make it difficult for you to brush and floss your teeth. And without treatment, the bacteria formed by trapped plaque and tartar buildup can then lead to periodontal disease—orthodontist speak for an infection of the teeth, gums, and potentially the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone.

What’s that have to do with your heart?

Say “stay away” to plaque and infection. Check out our top toothbrush and toothpaste recommendations.

Periodontal disease can increase your chances of developing atherosclerosis—a cardiovascular disease in which plaque builds and hardens inside your arteries. Here’s how:

  1. Pockets begin to form under the gums, collecting bacteria.
  2. Gums become infected by bacteria, turn red, and/or bleed during brushing or flossing.
  3. The bacteria then destroys gum tissue cells and infects blood vessels and connective tissue.
  4. Your body responds to the inflammation by increasing its production of white blood cells and acute phase proteins.
  5. The volatile mixture of bacteria, white blood cells, and proteins damages and creates plaque in the cells around your coronary arteries, leading to hardened arteries.*

And as a result, atherosclerosis increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or even death. And if that wasn’t enough, periodontal disease can cause more complications for those with diabetes and increase the risk of respiratory diseases.

Misaligned teeth are no laughing matter.

How to Make Your Heart Smile With Healthier Teeth

So now what? That’s a lot of doom and gloom, so where do we go from here? How can you help reduce your risk of periodontal disease, or subsequent diseases, as a result?

First things first, continue (or begin) practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after meals, floss once a day, and regularly rinse your mouth with a fluoride-containing antimicrobial mouthwash, such as Listerine. These steps will help keep you on the road to greater overall health.

But, of course, regular brushing, flossing and rinsing will not be able to shift any existing malocclusions. You’ll need the assistance of a well-trained orthodontist who can create a personalized treatment—via Invisalignbraces, first phase treatment, and/or other orthodontic appliances—to straighten your teeth. Only then will you more fully increase the health of your teeth, gums and jaws and reduce your risk of bad teeth creating other health problems.

At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, we like straightening teeth. But ask any of the doctors and staff at our Central Indiana offices, and you’ll soon discover that we got into this business to do far more than cosmetic alterations.

We practice orthodontics to improve the health and livelihood of our patients. Contact us today to see how we might be able to help your family.


*SOURCE: Align Technology, Inc.

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    review rating 5  Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

    thumb Karen Caudle

    review rating 5  This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

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    review rating 5  Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen! This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat. From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive. They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan. Keep up the great work!!

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