Dealing with crooked teeth can be a challenge. An imperfect smile often impacts a person’s self-esteem and overall dental health. It also prompts the question, “what causes crooked teeth, anyway?”
What Causes Crooked Teeth?
There are a number of factors that influence the shape, size, and position of teeth and dental arches.
Genetics, environment, behaviour, and certain illnesses all contribute to the development of teeth and jaws. These factors set the stage for a perfect bite or one that is compromised.
When it comes to extra teeth, undeveloped dental tissue, and the size of jaws, we have to look at genetics and the inherited traits passed down in families. These traits can’t be prevented, only treated at the appropriate stage of development.
Preventing Crooked Teeth
Underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are predominantly genetically derived and unable to be treated prior to the development of the dental system. Orthodontic treatment is used to intervene and correct bite issues at various stages of a child’s and young adult’s jaw growth. However, early childhood habits such as thumb sucking can also contribute to the development of crooked teeth, and they can be prevented by the monitoring for certain behaviours. Thumb and finger sucking that progress past the toddler stage greatly impacts the position of teeth and the shape of the upper palate. The pressure of fingers or a thumb pressed against the roof of the mouth can cause it to become narrower; reducing the space for adult teeth to erupt into place and causing teeth to erupt out of alignment.
Protecting the Health of Baby Teeth
Keeping baby teeth healthy is crucial to the development and correct alignment of adult teeth. When baby (primary teeth) are lost prematurely due to dental decay or trauma the vital guidance system for erupting permanent teeth is lost – enabling teeth to erupt crookedly. Keeping baby teeth cavity free also gives permanent teeth the best chance of erupting without issues, as bacteria from decaying baby teeth can’t reach uninterrupted adult teeth and compromise their health.