How Can Widely Spaced Teeth Impact Your Overall Health? Widely spaced teeth are a concern not merely for the vain or those overly concerned about their appearance. There are a number of serious concerns associated with widely spaced teeth, including Gingivitis, mouth sores, and tooth decay. In general, widely spaced teeth lead to the extra build up of bacteria including tartar and plaque. The impact of this can be severely life-damaging and, at the very least, highly inconvenient.
Gingivitis And Periodontal disease
While straightening out your teeth may not cure this disease, it does often assist in preventing gingivitis. If your teeth are widely spaced, pockets of tartar and plaque can build up more readily which means that gingivitis could potentially be headed your way. The treatment of this disease often includes root planning, scaling, curettage, and the use of hydrogen peroxide mouthwashes. If none of those treatment options sound appealing to you, well, they’re not. Besides that, you’ll also want to avoid the halitosis (bad breath) and the bleeding and painful gums that are associated with gingivitis.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has found a significant link between gingivitis and heart disease, as well as diabetes, pneumonia, and stroke patients. In the case of heart disease, the inflammation of the gums by bacteria can be significantly damaging to the circulatory system in the body—which can eventually lead to heart disease (though rare).
For diabetes, research is less clear though a significant connection has been determined by research. However, the link has not been entirely understood by the dental community and could, in fact, be a two-way street. In other words, research has yet to determine if gum disease (gingivitis) is a contributing factor in the development of diabetes or merely a symptom. The same can be said for stroke victims and the relationship between gingivitis and pneumonia. But better safe then sorry—your teeth should be taken care of and treated by a professional orthodontist.
If gingivitis is left untreated it can lead to further complications, including periodontal disease (periodontitis). Treatment of the periodontal disease typically begins with the removal of biofilm deposits and tartar. Like in the treatment of gingivitis, this will usually be done by root planning and scaling. Root planing and scaling—along with the many other uncomfortable (and likely expensive) treatment options—is highly unpleasant and should be avoided if possible. It is true that many cases of gingivitis never progress to the point of periodontitis. But, all cases of periodontitis stem from gingivitis—which can be caused by wide-set teeth.
Tooth Loss and Decay
As already mentioned, the main problem associated with wide-set teeth is the likely build up of bacteria. This bacteria can literally destroy your teeth (tooth decay) to the point of losing them entirely. Otherwise, tooth decay occurs when the build of bacteria generate acids that begin to eat away at the tooth. Other than tooth loss, tooth decay can cause cavities—holes in your teeth—to form, as well as tooth infection and severe pain.
Again due to bacteria build up, wide-set teeth can cause serious sores to form in the mouth. Fortunately, these sores tend to heal in just a few short weeks. However, they can be highly painful and if left untreated they can return. In other words, mouth sores are usually a sign of worse things to come—like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Another thing caused by widely spaced teeth, one we don’t have to say too much about this one. Try kissing a loved one with a mouth full gingivitis and they’ll likely never want a kiss from your lips again. This bad breath—caused by a serious build up of bacteria—is worse than your average case of bad morning breath. It is often referred to as Halitosis and is significantly more odorous than your routine case of bad breath. Halitosis is caused by bacteria build up in the gum line and can be a symptom of widely set teeth.
Other Possible Health Hazards
Finally, while bacteria build-up is the main concern for those with wide-set teeth, there are many other possible problems that might be experienced such as digestive issues (as those with wide-set teeth are less able to chew their food properly). Also, headaches and joint pain have been associated with wide-set teeth, as it can cause the muscles of the jaw, face, and neck to be misaligned. This misalignment might also cause a person to grind their teeth, creating many other problems down the road. In addition, speech disorders can be another potential hazard, as gaps in the teeth can make it difficult to form proper speech patterns. Lastly, a person with wide-set teeth might experience a variety of psychological problems, especially children who struggle with maintaining self-esteem.
Schedule Treatment for Widely Spaced Teeth
In Marin County, Calif., you can visit Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics to have an examination and treatment from these professionals:
• Dr. Jasmine Gorton
• Dr. Bill Schmohl
• Dr. Jeff Nichelini
An orthodontist will discuss orthodontic options with you to repair problems such as crowded teeth, crossbites or overbites. Depending on your malocclusions, you can wear one of these devices:
• Braces with colors
• Traditional or Damon Clear
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Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle
Suite 200 Larkspur
5 Reasons Widely Spaced Teeth Impact Your Health
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.