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microplastics vs crooked teeth

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Do crooked teeth have negative long-term health consequences? Crooked teeth cause more tooth chipping, but the rate of these tiny chips even with very crooked teeth, and even with grinding, isn't so high that one is going to wear teeth away to the point where their cease to function. Thus, is orthodonture actually a health issue or mostly one of aesthetics?

Aligners (metal braces alternatives the best known of which is Invisalign) are made of plastic & are known to leach micro- & nanoplastics (MNPs) into the mouth and are worn for 12-24months essentially continuously except during meals. And those & usually most metal braces are typically followed by plastic or metal + plastic retainers overnight for life. MNPs are known to accumulate in arterial plaques & higher amounts in their plaques are associated with higher CVD risk. MNPs also cross into the brain. There's insufficient research yet to quantify absolute risk rise from plastic aligners or retainers, so it's an unknown but likely nonzero risk vs an aesthetic issue + what other risk on the crooked teeth side?


PS It is possible to use metal or ceramic braces without any plastic and use bonded lingual retainers aka fixed retainers that are essentially similar to lingual braces (braces that are put on the inside of the teeth so that they can't be seen). All of these options make flossing & keeping the teeth clean more difficult (flossing because one has to use a floss threader & general cleaning because food gets stuck more due to the metal wire & the less smooth surface due to the bonding & other material to connect that to the wire) so there is either a time penalty or a higher risk of decay. So that's a different set of trade-offs vs the unknown plastic risk. (And these are the reasons people often choose removable aligners & retainers.)

PPS To go back to the original question about crooked teeth: Some sites suggest crooked teeth make cleaning harder & thus are more likely to lead to decay and/or gum diseases and certainly crookedness can make flossing a bit harder than having straight perfectly spaced teeth, but relative to the increase in cleaning difficulty of having braces or lingual braces slightly crooked teeth doesn't make flossing nearly as hard & the braces/permanent-retainers are more likely to trap food. Plus, I suspect most of the web sites that come up when asking Google about the health consequences of crooked teeth are not unbiased sites.

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How crooked? If they're not so crooked that they make cleaning impossible, then what other harms are there from crooked teeth? I don't know. Perhaps they lead to loss of teeth in time due to poor alignment? I would guess it all depends on the degree of crookedness. Of course, there may be aesthetic considerations, but looking strictly from a health point of view, I suppose an orthodontist might be in a better position to evaluate the role of tooth alignment.

As to grinding, I am not sure how connected it is to crooked teeth. My teeth are not crooked, yet each and every dentist and periodontist claims I grind my teeth. They recommend a plastic guard for the night. I have not done it. I have been ignoring that advice for some 40 years now and have still not died due to teeth grinding. FWIW, I am not aware of grinding my teeth, but they all swear I do. I don't think they're all making it up, but they base that in part on the prominence of my jaw muscles. Yet, I tend to chew my food pretty strongly and have eaten a lot of nuts daily, and f.ex. almonds can be a real exercise for your jaw muscles. A night guard is for the night, and is not going to fix the impact of chewing on my teeth during the day. My periodontist recommends soaking the almonds to soften them... I have no intention of engaging in any such unappetizing practice. I've been warned that I'll wear my teeth to nubs without a guard for the night and must stop chewing on hard foods. Maybe. But I'm moving along my sixth decade of life, and the teeth are still not nubs. I might regret it, but I'll take my chances with teeth grinding. YMMV.

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Are plastic retainers used to cover up crushed teeth? As someone who eats carrots, tiger nuts, and avocado pits raw, this is a concern long term...

i just ate cvs almonds and they felt hard on my teeth (which were already crushed by tiger nuts and banza pasta raw, which I shouldn'thave done but done anyways - tho I'm not buying those again)

Edited by InquilineKea
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