About Your Teeth Do straight teeth really make for a better smile?

Q & A's

Do straight teeth really make for better teeth?

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Open any fashion and lifestyle magazine today and you will be bombarded with images of models and celebrities with amazing smiles. Some of these smiles are natural but others have been enhanced to improve things like colour and shape. Tom Cruise is the classic example of the type of corrective dental work that is possible. Modern dentistry can take crooked, discoloured, chipped and cracked teeth and transform them into a beautiful, natural white smile. In a nutshell, a cracking smile can transform your appearance.

But not many people realise, that straight teeth are actually good for a lot more than just having a cracking smile. As a prosthodontist, who specialises in tooth restoration, I continually remind my patients of the many benefits that come from a healthy smile and bite.

The three top reasons for straight teeth tending to mean better teeth are:

Appearance – While Japan may well be the exception with their unique penchant for crooked teeth, where even fake crooked teeth procedures are on offer at several dental practices around the country, Australia, like many other Western nations associate straight teeth with attractiveness. Some studies have shown a correlation between attractiveness and success in such things as relationships, job opportunities and even higher salaries. And a great smile is often related to confidence and self-esteem, which may offer some explanation for the link to greater success. While straight teeth are in no way the exclusive factor in one’s attractiveness, whether we choose to believe it or not, appearance does impact how we are perceived; and our smile plays an important part in that perception.

Health – Anything straight is going to be easier to look after, clean and maintain, when compared to something jagged, crooked or crowded.  Our teeth are no exception. Straight teeth make brushing and flossing easier. Straight teeth can also improve our bite and therefore the effectiveness of our teeth as well as helping to prevent undesirable tooth wear, possible jaw pain or bad breath. Not to mention that overbites and under-bites, crooked teeth and overcrowding can lead to gum problems. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of bacteria, which do get into the bloodstream and may lead to more serious gum diseases, such as periodontitis. While our general physical and mental health is affected by many factors – namely environment, genes and lifestyle – good oral health significantly contributes to our overall health and wellbeing.

Longevity – There are a number of ways that poor dental care can affect our overall health and as a consequence shorten our lifespan, or worse still lessen our quality of life years. People of all ages will benefit from establishing a regular oral hygiene routine – brushing correctly at least twice daily, flossing in between the teeth and cleaning the tongue – as well as maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet, essential for a healthy state of mind and a strong immune system. Reducing our intake of foods high in sugar and starches, which contribute to tooth decay and avoiding cigarettes and tobacco use, which may lead to gum disease or oral complications are also key to our overall health and wellness. Research in the area of oral and overall health care has shown some correlation between poor dental health (such as gum disease) and diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. While it is unclear as to whether poor dental health actually causes these diseases, it is thought that they share many of the same risk factors such as smoking, obesity and stress. So if we make a concerted effort to focus on these common risk factors, we may be on our way to having both healthy teeth and gums and a healthy heart.

The benefits of straight teeth extend far beyond just a celebrity look-a-like smile and can actually contribute to your overall health and quality of life (and if we’re lucky, they may even help with that pay rise).


This was posted by:
Dr Markijan Hupalo – Prosthodontist
Originally from Brisbane, Dr Hupalo is a Sydney-based Prosthodontist. He obtained his primary degree from Queensland University and graduated with Honours in 1988. He commenced his dental practicing career as a Dental Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force, where he worked for almost ten years. In 1996 he completed his military service and returned to Sydney to begin specialist training in 1996. He gained specialist registration in 1999 after graduating from the specialist clinical training programme in prosthodontics at the University of Sydney. He has a specialist private practice in Sydney with an international reputation for quality dental solutions and patient care. Apart from the traditional dental restorative solutions, Dr Hupalo has a special interest in adhesive dentistry and conservative dental solutions. Dr Hupalo holds a teaching appointment with the University of Sydney and is involved in Prosthodontic education at the undergraduate and post graduate level.  He is an advisor to tertiary institutions, industry and is a consultant to the legal profession. Visit: www.sydneyprosthodontics.com
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