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Ask The Expert

By Dr. Jamon Jensen

One of the first questions parents asks us when they bring their children in for a cleaning and exam is whether or not they’ll need braces. Generally by assessing the child’s existing (baby) teeth, spacing, bite and through X-rays, we can give an idea if braces are in their future.

We always hear a smile is one of the first things we notice about people so it’s natural that both kids and parents think about that when considering braces. However, there are also health implications to consider when deciding to move forward with braces for your kids or even yourself.

Crooked and Crowded

Teeth that are crooked or crowded tend to create tight spaces, which make it difficult to get to by brushing and flossing. Over time, food gets trapped and plaque starts to build, ultimately resulting in tooth decay and possibly tooth loss. You should floss everyday but without the ability to do so and reach your gum line, you’re also at risk for gum disease.

Off-Track and Misaligned

You may hear that you or your child have an overbite, under-bite or a cross-bite, which essentially means the teeth are misaligned. How your teeth line-up impacts the pressure on your jawbone. Too much pressure or force can erode the bone, while too little pressure, depending your bite, can lead to lack of bone stimulation. An improper bite can also interfere with chewing and speaking, as well as cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and lead to jaw problems.

The Food Breakdown

Digestion starts first in your mouth and it can be challenging to chew properly when you have crooked or misaligned teeth. Food isn’t broken down enough, which can lead to overall digestion issues and malnourishment.

As you can see, the health benefits of braces go far beyond the aesthetics of having straight teeth and a nice smile.

Dr. Jamon Jensen is with Risas Dental and Braces in Wheat Ridge; On Nov. 1, visit www.risasdental.com or call 303-731-2587 to learn more about our Black Friday Deals, ranging from everyday care to braces.