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The Importance of Teeth in Speech

The Importance of Teeth in Speech

Human beings are the most intelligent and social animals and human speech is therefore integral to communication. Speech is important not just for day to day communications but also for various other forms of communication and expression such as singing and acting. In all human speech, teeth play a very crucial role in helping you form proper speech and making correct pronunciations.

The human speech is highly complex. We make certain phonetic sounds using a combination of our vocal chords, lips, teeth and the tongue. There are certain sounds such as the vowels that we can make without using our teeth or lips but certain sounds rely entirely on the contact between the teeth and the lips or the teeth and the tongue. The sounds that will be most affected if the teeth are missing are F, V, S and T. There are other factors that will determine how we speak and make phonetic sounds such as the physical structure of our mouths and even the length of our tongues.

Here is a look at some of the examples of how the teeth plays an important part in the speech formation:

  • To make “TH” sound, your tongue must make contact with the upper row of your teeth.
  • For you to make an “F” or a “V” sound, the upper teeth must make contact with the lower lips.

If there are issues with your teeth such as structural issues or mis-alignment, you are likely to suffer from some kind of speech impediment such as the slurring of speech or even lisps. There are other unlikely factors that can affect your speech such as the colour of teeth, vampire teeth or even buck teeth.

While speech impediments that are related to tooth problems occur because the speech organs or articulators such as the tongue, teeth and lips are unable to efficiently produce sound, sometimes a speech impediment may be due to an overly self-consciousness personality in a person with a dental flaw. Generally, people who are embarrassed by their dental flaws will try as much as possible to conceal it by covering their mouth and that affects speech articulation.

For example, the speaker may mumble words that they can easily articulate or may the talk with their lips partially covered which will impact the sounds coming from their mouth and affect speech.

By deliberately hiding aspects of your dental structure during speech, you will affect not just speech articulation but also the speech pattern, tone and the volume of speech. Muzzling your mouth because you are unable to speak openly due to some dental flaw forces you to talk in an unnatural manner. When you do this repeatedly, your muscles adjust and get used to this manner of speaking over time. Once you have used your speech articulation organs “unnaturally” over several years, the facial muscles are re-adjusted to this new position and become rigid and inflexible. As a result, you will be unable to change your speech pattern in the future even if you are able to fix your dental flaw later on.

If you are overly conscious about an aspect of your teeth and feel that it is preventing you from expressing yourself openly, it is better to fix it in time instead of spending a lifetime stretching your facial muscles and changing your speech pattern in a bid to hide it.

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