What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Do your teeth overlap one another, have gaps, or otherwise misalign? Crooked teeth might make you feel self-conscious about your smile’s appearance. But dental misalignment can also put you in danger of many oral health problems.

A dentist can help you straighten your smile with an individualized treatment plan that might include braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic treatments. However, to best protect your smile, it can help to know what can cause these alignment concerns. Read on to learn about four of the most common reasons that your teeth can grow crooked.

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4 Common Causes of Teeth Misalignment


One of the primary reasons that an individual’s teeth can appear crooked is because of genetics. The way that your teeth grow can be influenced by factors like the size and shape of your jaw, your bite and any malocclusions, or crowding. And these conditions can be passed down from your family.

Your palate and airway may also affect your dental development and therefore the position of your teeth. For instance, if you breathe through your mouth, especially during childhood, this can influence the way that adult teeth will form. A dentist can monitor tooth growth and spot early signs of misaligned teeth when you visit them on a regular basis.

Childhood Oral Habits

Early childhood, especially when a child loses their baby teeth and starts to grow their permanent teeth, proves to be an influential time for dental health. If the child has certain oral habits, they can impact the way that these teeth grow into place.

For instance, sucking their thumb, tongue thrusting, chewing lips, and biting fingernails can all put pressure on teeth that have not yet fused fully into place. This can pull on the teeth, affecting the bite and making teeth crooked. Stopping these behaviors can help to prevent misalignment in teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

We brush our teeth and floss regularly to keep our teeth clean and healthy. But this oral hygiene regimen can prevent teeth from shifting out of place or growing crooked. Poor oral hygiene can majorly increase your risk for gum disease, an infection in the gum tissue.

This disease will cause gums to swell and recede, which may loosen teeth as well as misalign them. You might even lose one or more of your teeth this way.

You will need help from a dentist to treat this oral infection. So you should prevent contracting it in the first place by practicing proper oral hygiene. This will include attending routine teeth cleanings at your dentist’s office.

Trauma to the Teeth

Even with diligent preventative care, we might suffer an accident, such as a blow to the face, that could severely impact our dental health. Impact trauma from this type of injury could hurt your teeth and potentially make them crooked. Seek urgent care from a dentist if you do suffer this dental injury.

But gradual trauma to the teeth from habits like teeth grinding or clenching could also generate pressure that will cause teeth to shift out of place. Talk to your dentist about treating bruxism to preserve your smile.