What Causes Crooked Teeth and How Can You Help Your Child from Having Them?

Just about everyone ends up needing braces if they want a healthy smile – but why is that the case? While a few people are born with perfect teeth, most of us need orthodontic treatment at some point. So what causes crooked teeth? And how can you keep your child from having crooked teeth?

Why Do Most People Have Crooked Teeth?

To understand why so many people develop crooked teeth and malocclusions (bad bites), we have to look to evolutionary biology. Humans have 32 adult teeth, which grow in from age 6 to age 21, ending with the third molars, or wisdom teeth. But here's the problem: wisdom teeth are something of a vestigial organ. That means that we don't really need wisdom teeth to survive – they're simply a leftover we inherited from previous species in the human evolutionary chain, such as Homo erectus and Homo habilis.

In fact, it isn't just that we don't need the third molars to survive: most people don't have sufficient room in the dental arches to accommodate all 16 teeth. Our mouths are smaller than our evolutionary predecessors', but most people still have wisdom teeth grow in. This is one of the main reasons that so many people grow up with crooked teeth.

How Can I Prevent My Child from Having Crooked Teeth?

Unless your child is one of the lucky people who grow up with perfect teeth or don't have wisdom teeth at all, the best way to prevent crooked teeth is through orthodontic evaluation and treatment. Orthodontic treatments, like braces, are the only way to ensure straight teeth and a healthy smile. You should bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation at age 7, as this is the best time to spot problems before they develop. By working with a trained, board-certified orthodontist, you can ensure your child gets the treatment they need and grows up with a beautiful, healthy smile.

All About Braces is a comprehensive orthodontic practice serving the Denver, CO area. If your child is turning 7 soon or hasn't yet seen an orthodontist, we're always happy to provide a consultation – request one online today!

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