When you think of orthodontics, if you’re like most people, images of braces and modern invisible aligners, like Invisalign, come to mind. But beyond straightening your teeth to give you a beautiful, perfect smile, orthodontics can also provide a host of health benefits.   Teeth That Are Aligned Are Easier to Keep Clean and Healthy Did you know that, when your teeth are aligned, they are easier to clean with brushing and flossing? It’s true!    How’s that possible? Well, plaque can have more places to hide when your teeth aren’t straight. And because of misalignment, your toothbrush may not be able to reach the surfaces of all of your chompers to clean them thoroughly.    So, if you hope to reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease, and your teeth aren’t as straight as they should be, it’s worth having a consultation with an orthodontist.    Side note: Reducing the odds of developing tooth decay and gum problems can help you also reduce the amount of money that you’d need to spend at the dentist. Fewer cavities means fewer fillings, which can certainly add up!     A Properly Aligned Bite and Jaw Makes a Big Difference   If the upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly when you close your jaw, you likely have what’s known as malocclusion. And there are different forms of malocclusion, such as an overbite or an underbite.    When the jaw and the bite aren’t aligned, a variety of problems may develop, such as: Excessive wear and tear of the teeth, along with a greater risk of chipping or injuring a tooth Deterioration of the bones supporting your pearly whites Teeth grinding  Temporomandibular joint disorder (known as TMD or TMJ) Difficulty biting and chewing food Difficulty speaking properly Headaches, migraines, sinus problems, and sleep problems like sleep apnea Increased strain on the muscles and joints of the jaw, which might even lead to neck and shoulder tension That’s a lot. Who knew an improperly aligned jaw could have such an impact on your health?!   Extra perk: If you have too much space between your teeth, an orthodontist might recommend using braces or aligners to close those gaps. This might help eliminate the need for other remedies, such as dental implants or bridges, to get rid of the gaps.    A Straight Smile Gives You More Confidence   In addition to all of the various physical benefits that come with orthodontics, there are also plenty of ways that a straight smile can help you mentally and emotionally as well.    For a lot of people, having a perfect smile provides a huge boost to their self-esteem. If you are the type of person who is reluctant to smile wide when taking photos, or you are embarrassed when you open your mouth to laugh, braces might be exactly what you need to overcome these difficulties and gain the confidence that you want.    Worried About Affording Orthodontics? Insurance Can Help!   As you can see, orthodontic care is about much more than just giving you a smile you’ll be proud to show off. But even if you are ready to take advantage of the many health benefits of orthodontics, you might start to feel a little reluctant when you realize how much this treatment can cost.    There’s no denying that orthodontics can be expensive. High-quality braces and invisible aligners typically need to be used over a long stretch of time, and the longer you need braces to work on straightening your teeth and fixing your bite, the pricier the overall treatment can become. But there’s a simple solution.    To make orthodontics more affordable for yourself or your kids, enroll in a dental plan, such as one offered by Spirit Dental, that will provide this particular type of coverage. Remember, not all dental policies will cover orthodontics, so you do need to shop with care and read the fine print before signing up to be sure you know what you’re getting. The time and effort will be worth it, though. Once you have this type of insurance, you won’t need to worry about paying for everything out-of-pocket, and that’s a massive help!   Sources: http://www.drbibby.com/lasting-benefits-of-orthodontics https://starorthopedo.com/health-benefits-of-orthodontic-treatment/ https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/why-you-should-get-orthodontic-treatment/ https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/why-do-straight-teeth-matter/ https://www.orthodonticslimited.com/orthodontists/9-ways-orthodontist-can-improve-health/