Speech disorders can happen because of a hearing impairment, genetics, or a cleft palate, but another cause that might not seem as obvious is the position of the teeth! Let’s take a closer look at the ways that speech pathology and orthodontic treatment can overlap.
A malocclusion is a bad bite, where the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together the way they should. An overbite is a major cause of lisps and whistling while talking. Gaps between teeth can also cause lisps. Air is able to escape while making sounds that require you to press your tongue against your teeth, resulting in a whistling sound. Orthodontic treatment corrects malocclusions and closes gaps between teeth.
Have a lisp? Here are a few exercises that can help:
Before we can correctly form words and control how fast we speak, our tongues need room to maneuver. Jaw structure or dental crowding can restrict the movement of the tongue, making a stutter or slurring more likely. Braces correct crowding, giving the tongue plenty of room to make the correct sounds!
Several of the sounds in the English language require our teeth to be in the right place to be able to pronounce them. Examples include CH as in “chair,” F as in “feet,” SH as in “shape,” J as in “Jump,” V as in “van,” S as in “soup,” Z as in “zoom,” ZH as in “treasure,” the voiceless TH as in “think,” and the voiced TH as in “the.” Braces will move teeth into their proper positions, which makes pronunciation much easier!
A speech disorder can’t always be helped by orthodontic treatment, but it can certainly make clear speech easier for people trying to talk around malocclusions, crowding, and crooked teeth. Other benefits to having properly aligned teeth include that they’re easier to clean, they improve digestion, and they look great!
If you have a speech impediment, you might be worried that having braces will only make it that much harder to speak clearly. There may be a short adjustment period while you’re figuring out how to speak around the braces, but that won’t last long and the end results will be well worth it! If you want to learn more about how braces can help with speech impediments, just give us a call!