Many of us want to have a perfect smile, which involves having a straight set of white teeth. So, why are straight teeth more attractive?
Straight teeth often make a person look and feel more confident, which is an attractive trait. Most people will notice your teeth first when they meet you, so straight teeth will leave a positive first impression. Straight teeth make you look healthier, too.
Why Are Straight Teeth More Attractive?
Other people think that straight teeth make a person more confident. If you have straight teeth, you will be more likely to have a wide smile, which is always an attractive feature.
A study showed that people who had broad smiles in photos were more attractive and appeared kinder (Otta et al., 1996). So, a broad smile with straight teeth can be found very attractive.
Crooked teeth can affect the way your smile looks. It becomes a distraction from your smile, making your smile look subpar.
Therefore, certain features that are not distracting are more attractive, like straight teeth. Crooked teeth will easily distract people from your other features.
Many people will remember crooked teeth because most people look at mouths first. If you have a set of straight, white teeth, it will leave an excellent first impression. However, crooked teeth will create the opposite impact.
We can use the nose as another example of why fewer distractions are more attractive. If you have a large, crooked nose, people will focus on that feature. However, a smaller, straight nose will be less of a distraction, enhancing your other features.
However, straight teeth will not distract people from your eyes, jaw, nose, etc. Instead, straight teeth can complement your overall facial appearance.
Additionally, straight teeth are often healthier than crooked, yellow ones. If your teeth look healthy, your teeth will be more attractive.
If your teeth are straight, there is proper alignment, meaning the gums will fit better around the teeth. Fewer bacteria will grow, reducing your risk of gum disease, cavities, etc.
Causes of Crooked Teeth
You may have one or multiple reasons why you have crooked teeth. Some common causes are genetics, injuries, poor dental care, poor dental hygiene, etc.
Mandible and Maxilla Size
Back in the day, there was no need for braces because most cavemen had straight teeth. They had larger, stronger jaws that they used to chew hard food.
Their hard diet made them chew more with the correct tongue posture, increasing their mandible and maxilla size. Additionally, ancient humans had to use more force and tear off their food.
However, we have a very different diet now compared to them. Most of us eat processed foods, and that is not limited to junk food.
Soft foods like yogurts, porridge, etc. are easy to eat and are healthy, but they make our jaws weaker. We barely need to chew these foods at all to eat them.
Without the same amount of chewing and force, our jaws grew weaker. Most children grow up eating very soft foods, so they are more likely to develop crooked teeth. Therefore, a soft diet consumption has negative impacts on your lower and upper jaw (Fujita et al., 2018).
Switching to a hard diet in our society would not be easy. Plus, a harder diet will not repair already crooked teeth.
However, regularly chewing, mainly as a child, can prevent crooked teeth. Children can opt for sugar-free gum and use that to chew regularly to strengthen their jaws.
It is important to remember not to do overdo it, especially as a child. Once the jaw feels tired, it is time to take a break.
A malocclusion is a misalignment of the jaw. There are different kinds of malocclusions, which can make your teeth crooked.
For instance, malocclusions cause teeth crowding. Teeth crowding can cause crooked teeth. Additionally, a misaligned bite can make your teeth look crooked because you have an improper bite.
For an analysis of the impact malocclusions have on facial aesthetics, check out this Looks Theory episode:
Poor Myofunctional Habits
These habits affect the face or mouth’s functions or muscles. For instance, thumb sucking is a common cause of an overbite, which is a malocclusion. Another example is tongue thrusting, which pushes your front teeth forward.
These habits do not immediately affect your teeth. However, they can significantly affect your teeth over time.
How to Straighten Crooked Teeth
Getting braces is a common way to straighten crooked teeth. How long you will wear braces and what kind you will use will depend on your case and your orthodontist’s or dentist’s recommendations.
The most traditional kind of braces are metal braces. However, some people can try ceramic braces if they want them to be less noticeable. Keep in mind that ceramic braces can discolor easily.
For people who want a more discreet option, they can opt for Invisalign. Instead of brackets, you slip a clear mold onto your teeth to secretly straighten your teeth.
A dentist often designs the molds, also called trays, specifically for you. You will have to change what tray you wear as prescribed by your dentist.
For instance, you may get twelve trays for your 6-month treatment plan. Your dentist may say that you need to wear the first tray for two weeks, switch to the second tray after two weeks, etc.
However, you need to remember that Invisalign may not be an option for extreme cases. You need to ask an orthodontist or dentist if you can get Invisalign to straighten your teeth.
Another way you can have “hidden” braces is to get lingual braces. The brackets are behind your teeth so that they will be virtually invisible. However, these may not be an option for people with extremely crooked teeth.
In some cases, you can wear retainers instead of braces to straighten your teeth. However, it may only be an option for people with minor issues.
It would be more commonplace for people to wear braces first then a retainer. The retainers will help keep the teeth from shifting and becoming crooked again. How often a person will need to wear retainers will depend on their dentist’s advice.
As mentioned earlier, a small upper jaw can cause crooked teeth. You may need to wear a palate expander before wearing braces to create enough room for your teeth to be aligned correctly. Additionally, a palate expander can help you correct an improper bite.
A palate expander is a device placed on your palate that will slowly expand your maxilla. The kind you will get will depend on your needs. For instance, a rapid palatal expander can work for most children. However, adults may need to get a surgically-assisted palate expander.
As stated earlier, a small upper and lower jaw can cause crooked teeth because there is not enough space for the teeth to grow. Mewing helps expand the palate, decreasing your chances of teeth crowding and crooked teeth.
Mewing will not fix crooked teeth. It could prevent crooked teeth in children, but it will not straighten already crooked teeth.
Therefore, like a hard diet, it’s not a solution but more of a preventative. In certain cases, people can try mewing instead of palate expanders if they have a slightly narrow palate.
However, it would not hurt to try mewing regardless because you can still benefit from the palatal expansion, improved facial appearance, etc. Plus, mewing can help you from developing an overbite, underbite, etc.
To learn how to mew, see our guide.