If you're lucky, you don't need braces at all. If you do need them, you're fortunate to get everything taken care of during your teen years. But that isn't always the case, as many adults — including celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Faye Dunaway — have elected to get braces in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s.
And while some of their celebrity's concerns might have been purely cosmetic, there are a lot of health reasons to have your teeth straightened, too. That's because overcrowded, crooked teeth, or missing teeth make it easier for plaque and other harmful bacteria to grow in your mouth — even if you're a liberal brusher.
That's bad news, too, because plaque buildup brings with it a host of potential risks and illnesses, including...
According to The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, people who didn't brush their teeth as regularly increased their risk of dementia by 22 up to 65 percent. Recent research has suggested that different types of plaques are responsible for the deterioration of the connections between synapses in the brain, leading to dementia or even Alzheimer's.
Along with dementia, the extra plaque buildup could be responsible for complications in the cardiovascular system. Extra plaque hardens within the bloodstream of the human body in a similar way as cholesterol. These buildups narrow the veins increase blood pressure and decreasing heart health. Over time, the higher pressure and clots can lead to ailments such as heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.
Bacteria in the mouth only have two directions they can move. They generally tend to choose the path that's more harmful for the human body simply because people need to breathe and they get sucked down into the lungs. There, the moisture and heat of the human body helps them cultivate and spread. The spreading of these bacteria can lead to irritation and obstruction of the lungs, resulting in respiratory diseases that include pneumonia and COPD.
If you ignore your mouth altogether, eventually you'll lose teeth, which is a huge problem for more than its cosmetic reasons. Missing teeth change the way you can eat (and enjoy!) foods. That's because some foods are better for the body when consumed raw as opposed to cook or mashed up. Foods like cashews, nuts, blueberries, and red peppers lose some of their nutritional content when heated or liquefied. Over time, this lack of full nutritional value will hurt a body that might already be fighting off the other ailments on this list.