Identifying the Culprits: Factors Contributing to Crooked Teeth

crooked teeth

Ever wonder why your teeth aren’t naturally straight? Humans are the only species on Earth that commonly experiences misaligned teeth, which makes the condition even more thought-provoking. There are lots of things that can cause your smile to be less than perfectly even. From lifestyle choices to genetics, here are seven of the most common causes of crooked teeth.

1. Small jaw 

Our ancient ancestors spent a lot of time chewing tough food, and they needed large jaws to get through all that fibrous material. But as humans transitioned to softer, cooked foods, our jaws became smaller. Scientists believe this resulted in teeth that are now crowded into our smaller mouths.

2. Repetitive behaviors 

Certain behaviors like thumb-sucking, extended pacifier use, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing can all push the teeth out of alignment over time.

3. Misaligned jaw 

Ideally, your top teeth fit slightly outside your bottom teeth, with the points of the top molars fitting nicely into the hollows of the lower ones. However, if the jaws are misaligned, the teeth will not fit together like a puzzle, and they may shift out of position in order to fit.

Misalignment of the jaw can be in the form of an overbite, where the top front teeth stick out far past the bottom teeth, or it can appear as an underbite, in which the bottom front teeth stick out in front of the top upper teeth.

4. Periodontal disease 

When gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease, in which the gums pull away from the teeth and pockets of infection form. As the body tries to fight the infection, tissue and bone around the infected pockets are broken down, which can cause the teeth to shift out of position or even fall out.

5. Nutritional deficiencies 

If an infant or child doesn’t eat a balanced diet, growth in all parts of the body – including the teeth – may be negatively affected. Poor nutrition can cause malformation of the teeth, which can directly lead to misaligned teeth, and it can also cause weak enamel and/or jawbone, both of which can cause misalignment.

6. Aging 

As we age, our bones lose density, including our jawbone. This density loss usually also comes with a decrease in the size of the jaw, which causes crowding of the teeth, particularly in the bottom front.

7. Losing baby teeth too early 

Baby teeth hold the place for adult teeth while the jaw is growing. When a baby tooth falls out or is knocked out by injury too early, the adult teeth may come in crooked as a result. If your child has lost a baby tooth earlier than expected, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist to see if precautionary measures should be taken.

Ready to straighten your crooked smile? 

Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists has helped thousands of patients all over metro Atlanta enjoy straight, beaming smiles through orthodontic treatment they’re proud to show off. Schedule your consult today.