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Habits That Can Accelerate the Development of Malocclusions

Posted on April 23, 2020

The most basic description of malocclusion is the misalignment of the jaw. It is a common issue across the world and affects people of all ages. In America, only 35% of adults have well-aligned mandibular incisors.

If you’ve ever suspected your teeth don’t align correctly, there is a possibility you have a malocclusion. Booking an appointment with an orthodontic specialist is recommended if you have any of the following issues:

• If you accidentally bite the side of your cheeks or tongue frequently.
• If you feel discomfort in your jaw especially when chewing solid food.
• Any jaw discomfort when talking, yawning, or eating.

To correct misalignments, orthodontic specialists may recommend Invisalign, clear braces or traditional braces. Here are some habits that can contribute to bad bites or malocclusions.

In Childhood

Malocclusions can begin as a result of habits in childhood. Thumb sucking, lip biting, and mouth breathing are often responsible for dental health problems such as a crooked bite and jaw misalignment.

Sometimes, children bite their lower lip to relieve anxiety as a comforting gesture. Unfortunately, lip biting can cause the front teeth to shift forward. Your bite’s alignment can possibly change if the habit goes on for some time.

When a child sucks on their finger frequently, the pressure pushes the upper dental arch forward, forcing it to narrow. The teeth can also move closer together, which will move the incisors further forward. In some cases, it can contract the face and change the child’s dental structure.

Another issue is mouth breathing. In children, it can cause visible changes to the face. The symptoms may include slimmer nostrils, elongated face, contracting upper jaw, and a high palette. The changes are a result of muscle imbalances in the movement of the jaw. Early intervention by orthodontic specialists is recommended to avert serious complications. That’s why you’ll note that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children to see an orthodontist at age 7.

Among Teens and Adults

We may pick up certain habits during our teenage and adult years. Mouth breathing may begin without someone realizing it. Certain factors can trigger mouth breathing in adults, and they include:

• Blockages in the nasal passage
• Enlargement of the tonsils
• Structure and shape of the jaws
• Enlarged adenoids

Even after the obstructions clear, the habit may persist. Other factors, such as psychological distress, asthma, and allergies, can increase the risk of mouth breathing.

Besides mouth breathing, other habits can shift the position of your teeth enough to require braces. Grinding and clenching can loosen your teeth and may cause pain in the jaws. Biting the lower lip can erode the enamel and move the position of the dental arch. The same is true to some degree of other common habits such as biting nails, smoking, or using your teeth as an extra pair of hands to hold objects.

In Conclusion

If you notice any symptoms of malocclusions, book an appointment with an orthodontic specialist so you can have the issue examined. They can detect and evaluate the extent of the issue and recommend an orthodontic treatment type that best fits your needs. Some symptoms may be more serious than they appear to be, so it’s important to not overlook the issue.

Our orthodontist, Dr. Zamani, would love to have you in our office for a free consultation to get started. Give us a call today!