National Orthodontic Health Month
posted on 10-22-18
October is National Orthodontic Health Month. It’s the perfect time to educate people about orthodontic care and the role it plays in living a healthier, happy life.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, intervention and correction of what is known as the “bite.” The bite is the way your teeth and jaw interact.
Orthodontic treatment works to create a healthier bite – which includes straightening teeth to help them properly meet with opposing teeth to align your jaw. When teeth are overcrowded, spaced too far apart or do not meet at all, correction through braces or another form of orthodontic treatment may be necessary to create a healthier smile.
Various kinds of appliances are used to guide teeth into position, from standard metal braces and clear aligners to palatial expanders and space maintainers. An orthodontist will recommend a course of treatment upon evaluating an individual case, as no two bites are the same.
Why is Orthodontic Treatment Important?
Orthodontic treatment creates a more efficient bite, and an efficient bite is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and having a healthier smile.
Some of the health benefits of getting orthodontic treatment include:
- Improving oral health—After straightening teeth, orthodontic treatment makes it easier for most people to floss and maintain the health of their teeth and gums.
- Improving speech—Aligning the jaw and teeth improves the way your mouth moves, and the way the sound comes out of your mouth when you speak. Words are formed when your tongue moves around in your mouth and speech is clearer when your teeth and jaw are properly aligned.
- Improving teeth longevity—An aligned bite ensures that your teeth meet each other properly. This reduces wear and tear on teeth. A bad bite can wear down your teeth at an accelerated rate, which will create more problems as you get older.
- Improving breathing—Aligning your jaw can help reduce any potential obstruction to your airway. This allows for better airflow, and reduced irritation that improves breathing.
See more on the Health Benefits of Orthodontic treatment here.
When should Orthodontic Treatment start?
Anyone is eligible for orthodontic treatment. A person at any age or any stage in life can receive orthodontic care to correct issues with their teeth and jaw’s alignment and to improve their overall health, confidence and self-image.
We recommend all children make their first visit to the orthodontist by the age of 7. This may seem like a young age requirement, because most orthodontic treatment begins in the teen years, but early intervention in orthodontic health can prevent more extensive treatment down the road.
Getting a child orthodontic treatment while they’re young and their jaw is still growing can assist in guiding the jaw and teeth into a more desirable position later on, and can help detect unseen misalignments.
Read more about why your young child should visit an orthodontist here.
Although we recommend intervention at an early age, people of all ages can receive orthodontic care. Currently, 1 in 4 orthodontic patients is an adult. Many treatment options are available for adults, and several are less noticeable than standard braces.
If you are interested in hearing more about your orthodontic options, find an orthodontist near you at UAOsmiles.org.