There are few things in this world I’m certain of: There are 1024 kilobytes in one megabyte, 1024 megabytes in one gigabyte, 1024 gigabytes in one terabyte and 32 adult teeth in a badbyte. If you’re an adult and haven’t lost a tooth yet, you probably have 32 teeth crowding your mouth right this moment. If you have good genetics and were born with perfectly straight and aligned teeth, good for you! You’re one of the lucky ones, so take a bow my friend.
But if you’re like me, let’s shake hands, sing “Kumbaya” and join the millions of other people across the globe that has crooked teeth and misaligned bites, or what I fondly call Bad Bytes. Having crooked teeth and a misaligned bite is unfortunately a genetictrait that’s handed down like a family heirloom. It’s passed on like hair color, eye color, height, looks, etc. I’m not advocating blaming your ancestors for crooked teeth, but if only they brushed and flossed more back then…
Reasons for Crooked Teeth and Bite Issues
Genetics aside, there are other reasons people get crooked teeth and bad bites. Most of them we don’t have control over, like genetics, tumors and prolonged thumb sucking/pacifier use in children when left unguided.The main reasons are:
- Early loss of baby teeth or adult teeth
- Improper fit of dental restorations like fillings or crowns
- Pressure on the teeth and gums
- Misalignment of the jaw after an injury (like a hard punch to the face)
- Tumors of the mouth and jaw
- Prolonged thumb sucking, pacifier use, drinking from a bottle (children)
Problems and health risks
Crooked teeth can be downright embarrassing, and an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked can lead to teeth grinding, or bruxism which in turn, causes dull headaches, jaw soreness, teeth that are painful or loose and fractured teeth.
Some people snore, while some people grind their teeth while sleeping. I’m one of those grinders. My wife tells me it’s one of the most disturbingbed time sounds of all time. Her exact words are “it’s like you’re chewing on a mouthful of rocks, and both your teeth and the rocks are getting crushed.” Yikes. A friend of mine who also had the same problem introduced me toInvisalign in Montreal. After getting fitted with those clear, removable aligners, I haven’t had any grinding episodes and my wife sleeps like a baby.
Crooked teeth and a misaligned bite can also lead to a myriad of other problems because for one, crooked and overcrowded teeth are hard to clean and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease (periodontal disease) because of bacteria.Left unchecked,bacteria can cause bad breath, mouth sores, and tender or bleeding gums.
Studies have shown that oral infections like mouth sores and bleeding gums can also lead to other more serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature birth and pneumonia. Another issue is difficulty chewing because if the teeth don’t bite together properly, the risk of breaking, chipping or cracking a tooth due to the stress of a misaligned bite becomes greater.
A misaligned bite also adds unnecessary strain on the muscles and joints of the jaw, leading to jaw joint pain, speech impediments and even premature tooth loss. Studies have also shown that people with good, straight teeth and an attractive smile are perceived by others as being more successful and intelligent. They are also more confident and have little to no self-esteem issues versus people with crooked teeth and misaligned bites.
The good news is crooked teeth and bad bites can be corrected by an orthodontist. There are many ways your dentist can straighten out your crooked teeth, which include traditional metal braces, clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign clear aligners.
So, the next time you smile at yourself in front of the mirror, check out your teeth. If they’re straight as an arrow, you’re one of the lucky ones. Maybe a trip to the whitening chair is all you need to get that Hollywood smile you’ve always wanted. But if you’re like the rest of us and have teeth jostling for position inside your mouth, maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist before it’s too late.