Why your bite is just as important as your smile

bite and smile

why your bite is just as important as your smile

20 October 2023 | By Dr. Eric Meyerbite and smile

When undergoing orthodontics many focus on the smile as the primary outcome, however, we strive for more than just straightening teeth. At Dubuque Orthodontics, we believe the way your teeth come together and function, or “occlusion,” is just as important as having an amazing smile. Of course, a well-aligned smile can positively impact self-esteem and social interactions; however, a good outcome is more than just the smile. Having a good dental bite is crucial for long-term oral health for several reasons:

1. Long-term protection of teeth from unnecessary wear and tear

First and foremost, a proper bite alignment ensures that your teeth meet and function correctly. This reduces the risk of excessive wear and tear on certain teeth, preventing issues like chipping and fractures that occur over time. Something as simple as improving your bite will save you a lot of time and money down the road. Did you know that only 30% of people have a “normal occlusion1”?

2. Reduced risk of periodontal disease affecting the gums and bone supporting your teeth

A large study by Bernhardt et al. (2019) showed that individuals with malocclusions were up to 75% more likely to experience recession and periodontal disease2.

Furthermore, proper dental alignment also contributes to better oral hygiene. Straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain, reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities. When teeth are aligned correctly, there are fewer gaps and overlapping areas where food particles and plaque can accumulate.

3. Better function and chewing efficiency

When it comes to function, a correct bite alignment also promotes effective chewing and digestion. When teeth are aligned properly, much like a zipper comes together, we are able chew food thoroughly. The front teeth tear food, while the back teeth grind food into digestible pieces. Imagine your top teeth and bottom teeth not touching in the front—that makes it a lot more difficult to take a bite!

4. Harmony between your teeth, chewing muscles, and jaw joints

Although evidence does not point to a poor bite being a primary cause of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)3, a malocclusion may be a secondary factor in what affects a healthy jaw joint. Primary factors, such as, clenching and grinding, arthritis, neuralgia, or trauma should be identified and managed first. It is important to note that orthodontic treatment may or may not help with TMJ issues.

In summary, a good dental bite ensures proper oral function, reduces the risk of dental problems, and contributes to overall oral health and well-being. A visit to your orthodontist will help you identify and correct problems in your bite, while giving you a straighter smile.

As always, have a great day.

-Dr. E



  1. Proffit, W R et al. “Prevalence of malocclusion and orthodontic treatment need in the United States: estimates from the NHANES III survey.” The International journal of adult orthodontics and orthognathic surgery vol. 13,2 (1998): 97-106. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9743642/
  2. Bernhardt, Olaf et al. “New insights in the link between malocclusion and periodontal disease.” Journal of clinical periodontology vol. 46,2 (2019): 144-159. doi:10.1111/jcpe.13062. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30636328/
  3. Okeson, Jeffrey P.. Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion: Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion – E-Book. United States, Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019.