Braces bring surprising health benefits to adults

Dentist: Straight teeth can help prevent cancer, diabetes

By Sean Lavin - Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - More and more adults are getting braces and a straight smile is far from the only benefit. Dentists say there are major health benefits to braces, that could help you live a longer, healthier life.

[WEB EXTRA: Click here to see the cost of Invisalign braces]

Lake Mary dentist Dr. Ravi Lall told Local 6 braces can ease crowding that can cause plaque buildup and eventually lead to periodontal disease, which can be linked to pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

"And periodontal disease can lead to low birth weight in children, can lead to heart disease can lead to developing many other types of problems we don't see with people with healthy, straight teeth," Lall said.

The health benefits are an added bonus to Olga Colon, 51, who got braces in her adulthood to get that perfect smile.

"Growing up there wasn't the money," Colon said. "So now I'm doing it on my own."

Lall says the adult braces business is booming. He estimates more than 80 percent of his patients with braces are adults. Some are getting a touch up with invisalign, because their teeth moved after they stopped wearing their retainers after having braces as kids.

"It was not really understood clearly that you should keep wearing retainer for rest of life once you finished treatment," Lall said, regarding dental practices in the past.

Now, Lall says dentists recommend people wear retainers while they sleep for the rest of their lives, because "teeth have a memory and try and go back to where they were before."

Another benefit of a straight smile could come in the professional world. Lall explained that a lot of people with bad teeth will cover their mouth when they speak, laugh or smile.

"When they get their teeth fixed, straightened or bleached, they tend not to do that anymore, because they know smile is very nice," Lall said, adding that could help during job interviews because employers may "even subconsciously, think someone with straighter teeth is a better candidate for that reason."

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