The health of our mouths has a direct and tangible effect on the health of our bodies. Every day we uncover more evidence about this link, from diabetes to immunology to heart disease. But one of the biggest health benefits our teeth provide is also one of the simplest.
Straight teeth chew food more efficiently.
We’re not maximizing the nutritional value of our food — even very healthy foods — if our teeth are simply unable to efficiently and effectively chew that food. And when our bite pattern is misaligned, that is exactly what happens.
Orthodontics, to the rescue. Orthodontics (from the Greek, literally meaning “straight teeth”) is the branch of dentistry concerned with the position of the teeth and the overall bite pattern. Orthodontists spend the majority of their working hours installing, adjusting, and removing braces on patients of all ages.
This process is not a simple one. And as such, orthodontics cost more than your average semi-annual trip to the dentist. But the black-and-white dollar amount is not the entire story.
Having straight, healthy, well-meshing teeth means you’ll get more nutrients out of the food you eat. Your esophagus and stomach will be better able to grind that food into the viscous paste best suited for absorption in your small and large intestines, where we acquire the bulk of our nutritional intake. Large, unevenly chewed chunks of food are simply not broken down as well by the body, and thus wasted as a source of nutrition.
A well-aligned bite pattern also puts fibrous fruits and crunchy vegetables back on the table, so to speak, which keeps your digestive system functioning at optimal levels. And the more crunchy foods you eat (like nuts and celery), the stronger your teeth will be.
Compared to a lifetime of healthy eating and proper nutrition, what do orthodontics cost, really? Especially orthodontic braces for children, who have so many years of life ahead of them? Factor that into your decision to get braces or not. And here’s to your health. Read more.