- Published Date: 09 Jul 2020
- Updated Date: 22 Mar 2021
- Reading Time: 5 min
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. David Donelson D.M.D
There are many components to good overall dental health, and by the same token there are many issues that can develop with your teeth that can have assorted negative consequences down the line.
Issues of teeth crowding are among some of the most common problems that people experience, and there are a lot of potential consequences of having your teeth crowded and overlapping each other..
Of course, one of the most apparent issues with crowded teeth is that they can make it just about impossible to actually floss – and flossing is, of course, one of the cornerstone practices of good overall dental health.
Here’s a look at a few of the problems associated with crowded teeth, and with issues in flossing.
The more crowded your teeth are, the more painful flossing will become
When your teeth are crowded, it’s not just that you will find it harder to locate a fine enough floss to actually get between your teeth – but you will also have to worry about the basic reality that the process of flossing will, in and of itself, be more painful as a result of your dental crowding.
Many people already find that flossing isn’t an extremely pleasant experience at the best of times. When you must force the floss between your teeth with a large amount of pressure, there’s a good chance that you will accidentally end up cutting or irritating your gums due to the pressure involved – and you will likely also experience a greater than necessary degree of discomfort due to the fact that your teeth are essentially being “forced apart” when you do floss.
Without flossing, chronic dental decay might be unavoidable
If you avoid flossing – either because you just haven’t picked up the habit, or because you are actively avoiding it due to irritation caused by dental crowding, for example – you are likely setting yourself up for a world of dental troubles down the line, even if you brush your teeth regularly.
While brushing your teeth well is an essential practice of good oral hygiene and dental health, the accumulation of plaque and bacteria is bound to continue in the small gaps and crevices between and around your teeth, if you don’t floss regularly to dislodge that material and allow your toothbrush to properly do its work.
Over time, this plaque will typically harden and become much more troublesome to remove, and your dental health will suffer over time, even if you are very diligent with brushing your teeth. Getting into a good and regular flossing habit isn’t just a smart “extra” when it comes to ensuring that you have the best possible shot at maintaining optimal dental health. It is likely to be an absolutely essential part of the process.
Crowded teeth lead to an increased risk of gum infections and other oral diseases
In order to keep your mouth protected against conditions such as gingivitis, it’s essential that you are able to clean your teeth regularly and effectively, and don’t end up missing any nooks and crannies where plaque and bacteria can accumulate and cause problems to develop.
Crowded teeth naturally create hard-to-reach “niches” where infection and gum disease can arise, in addition to also changing the basic structure and layout of your mouth, so that your normal tooth brushing routine is disrupted by the uneven layout of your teeth.
Even if you are very attentive to your oral hygiene, crowded teeth will frequently result in an accumulation of plaque, at least in certain areas. This, of course, is a very detrimental situation for your oral hygiene
Overcrowded teeth can damage self-esteem
One of the main reasons why people pay so much attention to their dental health is because of the visual impression that a good set of teeth (or a bad one) makes on other people.
For better or for worse, we all tend to judge each other by appearances on some level, and our teeth are one of the first things that people are likely to notice whenever we communicate with them face-to-face.
After all, your teeth naturally show, to some extent, whenever you are talking. And they certainly show when you are laughing, yawning, or smiling broadly.
While you may be comfortable with the visual appearance of your overcrowded teeth, it’s likely that you harbor some degree of insecurity about them, and if that’s the case, this lack of self-esteem might seriously diminish your confidence and sense of overall well-being.
It’s well known that insecurities can – if allowed – push people into avoidance behaviors’, which then serve to underscore and solidify a sense of fragility and nervousness about the world at large.
A cornerstone of the highly effective psychological treatment known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is, for example, helping people to identify when they are practicing avoidant behaviors and then nudging them to confront the situations that have been troubling them.
Although these issues are deeper than the state of your teeth, it’s likely to be better for your overall sense of well-being if you keep your dental health in good order. And a significant part of that might involve attending to your overcrowded teeth, and seeking treatment for them.
Overcrowded teeth can cause problems eating and speaking
Although we don’t necessarily give it much thought on an everyday basis, it’s worth keeping in mind that our mouths are primarily functional things – not just aesthetic features of our bodies that we maintain purely for the visual impact.
Overcrowded teeth can fundamentally limit the amount of space in your mouth, and can also irritate the tongue and create an environment that isn’t conducive to things like clear enunciation, and comfortable for chewing your food.
If you find that you have a tendency to mumble, or otherwise not project your words clearly – or if you find that eating certain foods is a lot more of a chore, it might be that your crowded teeth, and their uneven alignment, are causing you problems.
This isn’t just a mild inconvenience, either.
Chewing is a fundamental part of the digestive process – and there’s good evidence to suggest that adequately chewing each mouthful can do a world of good when it comes to helping you to properly absorb the nutrients in your meals, whilst avoiding potential conditions such as heartburn and digestive distress.
On a similar note, no one wants to struggle to be clearly understood by others in conversation. Often, your ability to communicate clearly with your voice can significantly influence your social relationships, the first impression you make on other people, and even how you are viewed in the workplace.
Straightening your teeth today can save money on future dental procedures
Tooth decay, erosion, and other related dental issues tend to develop over time, and can progress for years to the point where they are severe enough to require serious intervention – the kind of intervention which may be notably expensive and frustrating. For example, having your original teeth removed or filed down, and replaced with crowns.
While there will generally be costs associated with getting your teeth straightened out when the only dental issue you notice is overcrowding, it’s worth viewing those costs as an investment that can prevent future issues further down the line – and that can, in turn, save you from the necessity of future expenses.
Overcrowded teeth can contribute to seemingly unconnected health problems
It’s all very well to identify the ways in which crowded teeth can lead to deterioration in your dental health – but there’s good reason to think that crowded teeth may also contribute to a variety of seemingly unconnected but severe health problems, too.
Sleep apnea and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, for example, are common health issues which result from disrupted breathing during sleep. The consequences of these conditions include chronic sleep deprivation, the collapse of the immune system, and damage to the cardiovascular system. It’s not uncommon for chronic sufferers of sleep apnea to end up dying of related complications to the disorder.
A crowded set of teeth can create additional difficulty breathing and can contribute to the tongue and soft tissues of the mouth constricting the airway during sleep, thereby potentially exacerbating this issue.
Straightening your teeth doesn’t have to be a nightmare
Whereas straightening out crooked teeth might once have been quite a serious undertaking – today, products such as invisible aligners can help you to straighten your teeth out simply and low-stress way, while being so close to invisible that other people may well not notice them at all, much of the time.
The process involves taking an initial impression, customizing a set of invisible aligners tailored to fit your mouth, and then allowing the aligners to apply just the right amount of pressure in your mouth to push your teeth into their correct position over a period of time.
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. David Donelson D.M.D