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What Causes Crooked Teeth and How To Fix It?

What Causes Crooked Teeth and How To Fix It?

One of the first things people notice about you is your smile. Everyone dreams of having a million-dollar smile that lights up their face and delivers positive vibes to the people around them. Having jagged, uneven or crooked teeth can make us feel self-conscious about our smiles and can deflate our confidence. The good news for those who do not have straight teeth is there are procedures to get them fixed. Before we dive into the treatment options, let us look at what causes one’s teeth to become crooked in the first place.

The Soft Foods Theory done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences proved that soft processed food made our jaws smaller1. Our ancestors — hunters and gatherers — ate tougher foods than us, which enhanced the development of their jaws, providing enough space for very straight teeth2,3. We evolved to have smaller jaw frames as there was less need for excessive chewing. Therefore, modern people have more misaligned teeth.

Habits That Cause Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth can be caused by bad childhood habits. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, thumb sucking, mouth breathing and the use of pacifiers or bottles among children have a part to play in this4. Sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, bottles or other objects is a normal attempt for babies to self-soothe and fall asleep5. It is not a concern as long as these habits do not go on for too long.

Once permanent teeth start to erupt after the age of about 5 or 6, continuous sucking on objects can affect teeth alignment and jaw development. It is also important to observe how kids breathe6. During growth, the tongue helps to expand the palate. When children breathe through their mouths, their tongues are not positioned on the roofs of their mouths, resulting in narrower jaws that are more prone to developing crowded teeth and other health problems7.

Genetics and Poor Dental Hygiene

We can get crooked teeth through genetic ties. If crowding runs in your family, there is a high chance yours will be crooked as well! You can also inherit other orthodontic problems like an overbite or underbite from your parents2,3,4. Genetic inheritance is out of our control, but the problems can be corrected.

Apart from that, baby teeth are important for space maintenance until permanent teeth erupt. If oral hygiene is poor and a primary tooth is lost prematurely due to caries or other infections, adjacent teeth will drift towards the space8. There will be loss of space, limiting room for underlying permanent teeth to erupt into proper alignment. As a result, premature loss of baby teeth can lead to crowded teeth9.

How to Fix or Treat Crooked Teeth

As you might have guessed, getting braces is the most common type of treatment to straighten teeth. You are never too old for braces as they are suitable for all ages. Having straight teeth is not just about how you look; it is about having good dental health too! So do not despair if you have crooked or crowded teeth.

Consult a dentist and get an examination to come up with a customised treatment plan regarding your dental issues and to know which type of braces is suitable for you. It is also recommended to take your kids for regular check-ups with the dentist to pick up early signs of teeth misalignment.

What about regular maintenance, such as brushing and cleaning? While they may change because of crooked teeth, the changes are not major:

1. When selecting a toothbrush, opt for slim tip bristles. Crooked teeth tend to have irregular gaps, so a toothbrush with slim tip bristles will be able to cover most of the areas.

2. To make sure the gaps are thoroughly cleaned, add flossing and washing with a mouthwash to your daily routine.

3. As for toothpaste, there are actually many types available in store, including toothpastes for long-lasting freshness, sensitivity and even whitening - so choose them based on your needs. Just make sure the one u choose contains fluoride, as it plays a role in preventing tooth decay.

Crooked teeth is a common problem faced by many children and adults. If your teeth are crooked and you think they could affect your oral health or if you simply want a perfectly aligned smile, set up a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist for the best orthodontic treatment for you.


  1. The true causes of Crooked Teeth. ADDA. (2017, August 25). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from,more%20crowding%20of%20the%20teeth
  2. California Association of Orthodontists. (2019, September 24). Retrieved from
  3. Whelan, C. (2019, May 8). Crooked teeth: Causes, concerns, and how to straighten. Healthline. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
  4. WebMD. (n.d.). 4 crooked teeth causes you should know. WebMD. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
  5. Smith-Garcia, D. (2021, April 30). Pacifier teeth: Causes, effects, damage, and treatment. Healthline. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
  6. Fox, D. D. (2022, August 11). Pacifier teeth: Does Pacifiers Cause Dental problems: Fox Kids Dentistry. Fox Kids Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
  7. How does mouth breathing affect teeth? Braceless Choice. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
  8. Lonestarmanager. (2021, October 22). 7 complications of premature tooth loss. Lone Star Pediatric Dental & Braces. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from,and%20crowded%20with%20the%20others
  9. Orthodontics and the premature or delayed loss of Baby Teeth. Prairie Pines Dental Centre. (2022, May 5). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
Being a dentist at the prestigious Tiew Dental, Dr Jacquelyn Lim is one you can rely on for accurate, professional advice. She graduated from University Malaya in 2019, and now has invaluable experience and knowledge, thanks to her time serving at government dental clinics. She has a special interest in Orthodontics and Periodontics. When she’s not treating patients at her clinic, she is either at the gym or travelling to her favourite destination.
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What Causes Crooked Teeth and How To Fix It?