Crooked teeth are a common condition for many children and adults. In fact, the particulars are unique for every person and can even add a certain charm to your smile. As such, most people with crooked teeth likely see no reason to go through the trouble of getting them straightened.
However, crooked teeth can actually be the cause of several health problems, with more severe teeth misalignment being able to alter the capacity for speech and even digestion.
Why Do Teeth End Up Crooked?
- Poor dental habits – Thumb sucking, prolonged bottle feeding/use of pacifiers in childhood, and mouth breathing are repetitive behaviors that change the jaw’s structure and shape.
- Genetics – Crooked or crowded teeth can be passed from parents to children. Even with top-notch dental habits, crooked teeth cannot be avoided and can only be corrected once the permanent set of teeth is complete.
- Misaligned jaw (malocclusion) – If your upper front teeth protrude further than your lower front teeth, you have an overbite. An underbite is when the lower front teeth are more prominent. Malocclusions can be genetic or can be caused by some childhood habits.
- Poor dental care – Many dental problems occur when cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease are left untreated.
- Evolution – Mankind’s ancestors may have had longer jaws—but modern dietary habits have altered the average jaw size. Unfortunately, shorter jaws may be responsible for crowded, misaligned teeth.
Can Crooked Teeth Impact Your Health?
Most of the time, crooked teeth are only an aesthetic issue that doesn’t cause any health problems. You only have to use Invisalign treatments or other alignment methods if you’re feeling self-conscious about your smile.
However, drastically crooked teeth can cause some health problems. Teeth are continually growing and moving around in the jaw, and the simple act of eating food every day means your teeth need constant maintenance.
- Periodontitis – Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and lost bone support. Toothbrushes are designed for neat rows of teeth, so crooked or badly misaligned teeth are much more difficult to keep clean. If teeth aren’t thoroughly cleaned, it can lead to plaque, tooth decay, gingivitis, bacterial buildup, and infection.
- Bad breath – If you have good dental habits, but you still have bad breath, it may be because of bacteria residing in the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth.
- Digestion problems – Crooked teeth may interfere with chewing. If food isn’t properly broken down in the mouth first, it may cause indigestion.
- Jaw strain – Misaligned teeth cause a lot of wear and tear on each other as you eat. The damage is worse if you grind your teeth in your sleep. An uncorrected under- or overbite can cause strain in your jaw muscles, chipped or cracked teeth, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, as well as headaches.
- Other health problems – Bacterial infections originating in the mouth have been linked to other, more serious medical issues such as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and diabetes.
Many children, teens, and adults have crooked teeth. Whether it’s caused by genetics or poor childhood habits, more often than not, it’s only an aesthetic problem. However, if you think your misaligned teeth are causing other issues such as indigestion, headaches, or gum disease, it’s important to consult with a dentist immediately.
Are you looking for a local dentist in Waterford, MI, to help you with teeth misalignment and other dental problems? The Dental House’s friendly, caring dentists will make your visit as pleasant as possible. We provide exceptional care to all our patients undergoing general, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment. Get a free consultation today!