What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Crooked, misaligned teeth are more common than you might think among children and adults alike. But what contributes to teeth becoming crowded, twisted, or overlapped? 

Here are five key factors that cause crooked teeth:

1. Genetics

Genetics is one of the most common causes of crooked teeth. In some cases, crowded teeth are related to jaw size, as smaller mouths have a greater chance of causing misaligned teeth. Other conditions that lead to crooked teeth are jaw shape, having too many teeth (hyperdontia), overbites, underbites, or poor tooth development. Like our hair or eye color, these causes are hereditary and passed down from our parents, giving us no control over them. 

2. Childhood Habits

Crooked teeth can also result from childhood habits. If you did not inherit your crooked teeth, you might have contributed to them by thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting as a baby. The pressure from your thumb or tongue applied to still-growing gums causes the teeth to grow outwards, especially if the habit continues until the toddler age. Mouth breathing, prolonged bottle feeding, or using a pacifier beyond the age of three can also lead to improper teeth positioning. 

3. Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene habits, especially those formed at a young age, are another leading cause of crooked teeth. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, you could develop gingivitis, which is the early stages of gum disease. If left untreated, this disease can progress into periodontitis, a severe gum disease that causes your teeth to loosen, shift, or fall out. Take the time to brush and floss your teeth every day and visit a dentist at least once a year to get rid of plaque build-up and ensure that your teeth remain straight and healthy.

4. Facial Trauma

Facial trauma is responsible for the most severe instances of crooked teeth. Jaw or mouth injuries from sports or other accidents as a child can cause teeth displacement. When teeth shift due to injury or illness, the remaining teeth will slowly move over time to make up for that open space. 

5. Malnutrition

The food you eat directly affects the health of your teeth. Getting enough nutrients in your diet is as critical for your tooth development as it is for your other bones, muscles, and tissues. 

If you are malnourished, especially as a child, it stunts growth because the body doesn’t have sufficient nutrients to facilitate proper teeth growth. Malnourishment can result in tooth decay and poor dental development, potential precursors to crooked teeth, amongst other health issues. 

Straighten Crooked Teeth at Smith Dentalworks

If crooked or misaligned teeth are negatively impacting your health or self-confidence, then Smith Dentalworks can help. We have solutions to straighten crooked teeth, including Invisalign. We believe in individualized dental care and take the time to get to know our patients and understand their specific needs before developing a personalized treatment plan. 

To take the first step toward the beautiful smile you deserve, contact our Oro Valley dental office to schedule an appointment today.