Treatment with braces goes beyond improving the health of your smile. By straightening teeth, patients are able to better care for their smile, removing bacteria and plaque from the spaces between and around teeth. As such, it can be said that braces are a critical, albeit indirect, solution for a myriad of dental health issues, ranging from gingivitis and gum disease to bruxism.
Few patients are fully aware of the impact that oral health plays on their overall wellbeing. In fact, many of these conditions that braces help alleviate – gum disease, endodontic infection, bruxism – all play a role in maintaining an individual’s overall health. When these issues are left untreated, patients face a number of serious health concerns.
Top Overall Health Risks
Recent studies have highlighted a link between heart disease and gum disease, many of which suggest that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease is to blame. These studies have also suggested that gum disease exacerbates existing heart conditions for patients. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of stroke, with one study noting that patients who’ve experienced a stroke are more likely to have an oral infection.
For individuals with diabetes, a diagnosis of periodontal disease is especially dangerous. Often, this oral condition makes it more difficult for diabetic patients to control their blood sugar. In patients with severe periodontitis, the bacteria increases blood sugar, putting patients at higher risk of diabetic complications.
When left untreated, gum disease starts to break down jawbone tissue. Multiple studies in the last few years have suggested that osteoporosis can increase the chances of tooth loss in individuals suffering from severe gum disease.
A recent study published in the Lancet Oncology recently found that men with a history of gum disease had an 14% increased risk of cancer versus men who did not have periodontitis. Furthermore, the research suggested that certain cancers including lung, kidney, pancreatic, and leukemia had an over 30% risk compared to other forms.
Protecting Your Health with Braces
While orthodontic treatment isn’t the only way to preserve your overall health, it is an important step for individuals with overcrowding, crooked, or misaligned teeth. If you’re concerned that the position of your teeth is threatening your overall well being, we strongly encourage you to schedule a consultation with our Miami Orthodontist, Dr. Stephen Grussmark.