If you have recently received an orthodontic quote for yourself or your child, you may be wondering if such an expensive and time-consuming course of treatment is really worth it. Is straightening teeth really necessary for dental health, or is it just a cosmetic luxury? Read on to learn why there is more to straight teeth than just looking good.

Are Braces Cosmetic or A Health Essential?

Prevent Enamel Wear

Enamel is the hard outer shell that protects your teeth from decay, and it can’t be replaced when it wears away. A common cause of enamel wear is malocclusion, which means that teeth don’t meet properly. Straightening teeth with braces can correct this problem and reduce the amount of wear and tear on their biting surfaces.

Make Dental Hygiene Easier

Crowded and rotated teeth are often difficult to clean, while excess spaces between teeth can trap food particles. Daily dental hygiene is easier and more effective when teeth are straight and properly aligned, which reduces the risk of dental decay and tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment can even save you money on fillings, crowns, implants and dentures in the future.

Reduce or Eliminate Speech Impediments

Teeth are an important part of forming the sounds that make up speech. When teeth are misaligned, some sounds can be difficult to make and result in a speech impediment. If your child’s speech delays are not responding to therapy, consider visiting an orthodontist to find out if a malocclusion could be to blame.

Improve Eating Problems

Is your child a picky eater? A bad bite may be the reason why. Teeth that don’t meet properly can make eating certain foods painful or difficult. For example, an open bite where the front teeth don’t close together can prevent your child from biting into foods like carrots and apples without cutting them into small pieces.

Help Permanent Teeth Grow Correctly

Children can still benefit from orthodontic treatment even if their adult teeth haven’t come in yet. In fact, before the permanent teeth erupt is the best time for an intervention. Orthodontics at this stage can reduce the time your child will spend in brackets and wires or even eliminate the need for them altogether by guiding the permanent teeth into place as they erupt.

Although some cases of orthodontia are only cosmetic in nature, keep in mind that nice looking teeth have benefits too. Straight teeth can prevent your child from being bullied, make it easier to get hired for a job and boost self-confidence.