The Importance of Teeth in Speech

Our teeth are important for many reasons. Most of us like to keep them healthy and clean so that we have a nice bright smile and have the ability to eat whatever we like. Healthy teeth, however, can be important for many other things as well, including one of the most important means of communication – speech.

Speech is a combination of phonetic sounds created by a your teeth, lips, and tongue. Usually if your teeth are creating a speech impediment, the F, V, S, T and E sounds are affected the most. The physical structure of your mouth and teeth or the shape and length of your tongue also all have a part in how well you can speak.

Even if your teeth don’t have any structural problems or blockages causing speech slurring, lisps or other issues, the color or length of your front teeth (discolored teeth, “rabbit/buck” teeth, or “vampire” teeth, etc.) can also change your speech. Often times, in order to hide dental flaws, the speaker tends to mumble more and speak with their lips partially covering their teeth. Over time, this can change the volume, tone, and overall speech pattern of the speaker. As the muscles are used over and over again in an unnatural manner, the facial muscles become more rigid and less flexible, making it more difficult to change the pattern later on in life.

Getting any work done on your teeth that involves changing the shape of your teeth or realigning your teeth outwardly (or inwardly) can be a huge and important procedure for many reasons. Even a slight miscalculation could mean that although your smile is perfect, your speech is forcing your facial muscles to becoming over fatigued after a lot of talking.

If you feel like your teeth are preventing you from fully expressing yourself or if you have any questions, call Candlewood Dental Care at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment at our New Fairfied, CT office here. Dr. Lorraine Burio has been treating patients with cosmetic and other dental issues for over twenty-five years.