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Can you straighten your own teeth by pushing them with your fingers?

By: Winnie Yu

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No, you can’t, and trying to do so might damage your teeth, advises Vincent G. Kokich, a professor of orthodontics at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and an orthodontist in private practice in Tacoma, Wash. Tooth movement requires continuous and constant pressure -- that’s why your dentist recommends braces or aligners to straighten teeth.

When braces are continuously worn for a period of time, the bone around teeth responds to the pressure, allowing your teeth to move in the direction of the force. Intermittent pressure, such as that from a finger, however, will not stimulate the bone to respond and will not move the tooth. On the other hand, over time, it can even loosen it, increasing your risk of tooth loss!

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Winnie Yu

is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.

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