What Causes of a Child’s Crooked Teeth?

A common perception is that genetics is the primary factor in why a child develops crooked teeth. However, recent research indicates the cause may be an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position during rest, swallowing or speech. prolonged oral habits like thumb or finger sucking can be the root of the orthodontic problems.

Dentists refer to these as “myofunctional habits” and they can affect the natural development of the teeth and jaws. The Myobrace System was developed to treat these underlying causes in order to aid natural tooth growth and help prevent the need for orthodontics.

Incorrect Myofunctional Habits and Teeth Development

A very common habit for a child to develop is thumb sucking. Yet this is a prime example of an incorrect myofunctional habit as it can impede jaw development. 

Anything which prevents the tongue and lips from performing normally can result in tooth alignment issues and underdeveloped jaws. Further examples of incorrect myofunctional habits include:

Mouth breathing

If a child primarily breathes through their mouth, it not only means the mouth is often open, but the tongue is not in its natural position of rest. The outcome is a restriction of the correct forward growth of the surrounding muscles, with the jaws being narrower as well as developing in a downward manner. This ultimately means less space in the mouth and the potential for misaligned teeth.

Incorrect Tongue Position

When you are not chewing or talking, the tongue rests naturally in the mouth. This is key as the tongue helps form the shape of the developing jaw. 

This resting position is in the roof of the mouth, but if it is often positioned in the lower part of the mouth instead, for example as with mouth breathers, then there will not be enough space for the upper teeth to come through correctly. The lower jaw will also be forced back and downwards, affecting the shape of the face.

Reverse Swallowing

The correct forward growth of the jaw is also affected by reverse swallowing. This is when a child swallows the wrong way, with the tongue moving forward and the lips back. On average, a child swallows twice each minute, therefore when reverse swallowing, the face will not develop properly, as the muscles are being forced in the direction opposite to natural growth.

Poor Lips and Cheek Control

The lips and cheeks help with positioning the teeth and poor control of either, or poor muscle tone, makes it harder to close the lips when swallowing. This can result in teeth alignment problems.

The Myobrace System

The Myobrace system was developed to treat these underlying conditions to prevent need for braces later on in the teen years. The system involves a  removable device which is worn overnight and for up to two hours each day. 

Best suited for ages 3 to 15, our highly experienced practice specialises in this treatment. We will explain how Myobrace is a preventive pre-orthodontic treatment which aids natural teeth and bone development. 

By addressing the underlying habits which cause crooked teeth we aim to prevent your child from requiring orthodontics like braces or tooth extractions.