Straight teeth are more than just a cosmetic concern. They can provide for a person’s health and social status, giving them a much better chance of success in life. Straight teeth reduce your risk of gum disease, which in turn can reduce your risk of many life-ending illnesses, such as heart disease and dementia. And, of course, straight teeth improve your odds of making positive personal and professional relationships.
Minds Matter, and So Do Teeth
The organization is called Minds Matter, and it’s dedicated to helping low-income students get into college and succeed once they get there. The organization began in New York City in 1991. For more than 25 years, the program has helped low-income students get into college and graduate from college successfully. The program has also expanded to 14 cities, including nearby Los Angeles, where a chapter opened in 2010. It’s unclear whether the program accepts applicants from Orange County, although presumably they would if you could commit to making meetings that are held in downtown LA.
Minds Matter is a 3-year program that helps students starting in the sophomore year of high school. The program overall offers students five aspects of support to help them achieve: mentoring, leadership development, financial literacy, life skills, and a summer enrichment program.
The program in Denver also offers free orthodontic work to some students. Organizers feel that this is a vital component of success. Students who have crooked teeth may experience pain as a result. They may lose more time from school or work related to tooth decay or gum disease. They may also suffer social stigma, and this can lead to stress and distraction that keeps them from performing at their best. And it’s important that crooked teeth can remain as a permanent mark of a low-income childhood, something that can hurt children’s odds of success later in life. It’s unclear how many other chapters offer braces to their candidates.
Bracing Students for Success Against the Odds
Minds Matter attempts to address the achievement gap between low-income students and high-income students. Among college students, only one in five from the lowest income brackets are able to complete their degree by age 24, compared to 99% of high-income students.
Minds Matter helps level this disparity. Not only are 100% of the students in Minds Matter accepted to a 4-year college, but 91% of them graduate from college within four years. And with 81% of those students accepted to top-three tier universities, these children are being given a much greater chance of success in life.
Don’t Neglect Your Child’s Teeth (or Your Own!)
If your teenager has crooked or crowded teeth, you might dismiss it as merely a cosmetic issue. The truth is they’re important to many aspects of their life, including their academic and economic success. Take that into account when considering whether to get them braces or not.
It’s also important to remember that these impacts don’t go away when we become adults. If you didn’t get your teeth straightened as a teen, or if you did, but they’ve lapsed, you may be experiencing the impact in your personal and professional life. That’s why more adults are getting braces than ever. Who knows what doors a beautiful, straight smile can open?