Crooked teeth in children have consequences that go beyond how straight their pearly whites are. Addressing crowded teeth won’t just help you save your child from feeling self-conscious about their appearance, but it can also improve their health down the line.
Adults can look to themselves as examples. If you’ve ever met someone who rarely smiled or avoided having their picture taken, there’s a good chance they were self-conscious about their crowded or crooked teeth.
Crowded teeth can cause a number of complications. Let’s take a look at what causes crowded teeth and what problems may arise when a child’s mouth is too crowded.
What Causes Crowded Teeth?
Overcrowding doesn’t just have a single cause. There are several contributing factors, especially for kids.
- Bad habits. If your child sucks their thumb or has a tongue thrust when they eat, speak, or sleep, the placement of their teeth can be affected.
- Genetics. Unfortunately, crooked and crowded teeth can run in families.
- Poor nutrition. Our diet has a big impact on our dental health!
- Facial injuries.
- Baby teeth falling out too late or too soon.
- Mouth breathing.
- Malocclusions. This is the catch-all term for misaligned teeth, in which a lack of spacing or an eruption of displaced tooth growth leads to twisting and overlapping teeth.
Problems Caused by Overcrowding of Kids’ Teeth
Overcrowding causes a number of problems! Your child may not experience all of these issues, but each of these things can often be traced back to overcrowding issues.
Difficulty Cleaning & Brushing
Does your child practice mindful brushing? Unfortunately, most people don’t, even though brushing your teeth is one of the impulse habits we do every day. If your child has crowded teeth, regular brushing takes extra effort.
Overcrowded teeth make it difficult for brushing, flossing, and mouthwash to do their jobs, whether it’s your child or the dentist doing the cleaning. If your child brushes their teeth daily but continually misses spots that go uncleaned and unflossed, over time that can cause problems.
For example, areas of the mouth that aren’t properly cleaned can have plaque build up, get infections, or trap food – they become a cozy place for bacteria to grow. These and other issues you’ll read among the other risk factors of crowded teeth can develop into severe consequences.
As mentioned, cleaning teeth and gums properly is one of the first steps to good oral hygiene. When your child’s teeth are crowded and cleaning is more difficult for them, they may end up with gum disease.
Gingivitis is a common problem that arises when plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and gums, eventually causing red, swollen, bleeding gums. Gingivitis is thought to be an early sign of periodontal disease, or gum disease.
This painful disease affects nearly half of adults over 30 years old, and can also contribute to tooth and bone loss. Teaching children good oral hygiene early can save them years of dental health problems.
Teeth Wear & Tear
Having a misaligned bite or crooked teeth has quite a few side effects. Bottom crowding can cause teeth to protrude, and rub against upper teeth, wearing down the enamel. Crowded teeth lead to daily wear and tear that can cause tooth chipping or breakage, cavities, jaw pain or TMJ, headaches, and other injuries.
Everyone has a favorite dish, whether it’s sweet or savory. But if every bite you take introduces pain, discomfort and suffering, it completely changes your experience! Not only that, but it triggers psychological effects in how or what you associate with food and eating.
This is a way overcrowding interrupts meal time, and starts to go beyond dental problems. This can influence what people eat or don’t eat, and how often or little they eat if they find chewing an inconvenience.
Children might begin to avoid eating that healthy vegetable or skip going for pizza with friends to avoid embarrassing issues or awkward moments caused by chewing. Improper chewing of food might also cause choking or digestive problems.
General Health Problems
Did you know that issues like bacteria and infections in the mouth can get into the bloodstream causing further damage throughout the body?
The body’s ecosystem works hand in hand within itself. For example, having a tooth ache might be referred pain from somewhere else in the body. This is a reminder of how important it is to stay diligent with dental health.
Research shows that there is a connection between dental health and heart disease. Bacteria that gets into the bloodstream from the mouth can create problems with heart valves. Other health problems and diseases linked to oral health include coronary artery disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and pneumonia.
Low-Self Esteem / Confidence
Having a crooked smile can affect how a person sees themselves. A teased child can become self-conscious and lose their confidence. Overtime, if their attitude or self-image around their crooked teeth doesn’t improve, it can lead to issues with mental well-being.
Sure, not all crooked teeth are troublesome, and it does add character. But if overcrowding is not just a quirky characteristic and is beginning to interfere with other parts of a child’s life, like digestion or self-esteem, it’s probably time to start taking their crowded teeth seriously and start looking into options to improve their condition before it’s too late.
Treatment options are available for children who need their teeth straightened if overcrowding, crooked teeth, or misalignment is addressed in time. The two most common treatments are braces and invisalign.
As with most matters of health and healthcare, the sooner you give attention and treatment to overcrowding or crooked teeth in a child, the more options you have for straightening the teeth and bettering the chances for preventing irreversible damage.
The Importance of Addressing Overcrowded Teeth
As we become parents and start to raise our children, we want to learn from our own experiences. Not only does that mean steering clear of bad or neglected dental hygiene, but it also means taking advantage of the progressive medical knowledge and technological advancements available to us today.
Children who grow up with crowded teeth are likely to have a number of health consequences as a result. The truth is, many people have had years of practice covering up or directing attention away from the bottom half of their face, where their smile hides.
It’s useful to remember that because our body is one big organism, everything is relative. Which simply means that there’s usually never a single condition in the body that exists alone; one normally affects another in a cyclical way.
Ashburn Children’s Dentistry–Providing Children with the Dental Care They Need
Ashburn Children’s Dentistry provides our patients with kind and child-focused care. Contact us with questions or book an appointment today to start addressing any overcrowding that your child is currently experiencing.