As your child is teething the position of his teeth could have a deeper meaning in relation to his health. If your child is developing crooked teeth, it could indicate more than just a cosmetic problem that can be addressed with braces in later years – it could mean your little one is facing STRESS!
Stress and Your Little One’s Bite
As per a recent study by researchers at the University of Washington, if your little one has an asymmetric lower face, i.e. crooked bite, it could be a major indicator of early life stress! However remember, an asymmetric or crooked bite is different from crooked teeth, overbites and under-bites. Understand if your child has a crooked bite by checking if he shows the following signs:
- Biting backward on only one side of the face
- Biting forward on only one side of the face
- Biting sideways on one side of the face
Previous research has suggested that the first thousand days after conception (not birth) have the most powerful influence on the early life experiences of your baby. Any stress at this time can ultimately lead to chronic diseases in adulthood. As per the research author, Philippe Hujoel, “Lower-face asymmetries were common in a generation that became typified by an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in adulthood.”
Causes of Asymmetrical or Crooked Bite
While the crooked bite is indicative of early life stress, it can also be a result of other factors which include:
The most common factor for a crooked bite is something you can’t control – your genetic makeup. Often if you or your husband have crooked teeth, your baby has a high chance of developing crooked teeth. You can rule out stress as the sole factor in such cases.
Low Birth Weight
Another marker for early life stress, the low birth weight indicates potential developmental problems which include a crooked bite.
If your baby faces any nutritional problems or shortcomings during the developmental stages, it could result in a lack of proper jaw development which consequently results in a crooked or asymmetrical bite.
Does your baby also seem to be developing a crooked bite? One of the above reasons could be the culprit. It is best to consult an expert at the earliest to ensure there is nothing to worry about.
Problems Caused In Later Years
While you may think a crooked bite does not affect anything more than appearance, there are actually a number of serious problems that are a direct result of having a crooked bite:
Gum disease is a common problem seen with crooked teeth. As your gums don’t fit securely around your teeth, there is more room for bacteria to grow and turn into plaque
Due to difficulty in cleaning teeth, more often than not people who have a crooked bite also suffer from bad breath that is caused by lingering mouth bacteria that are missed out on during cleaning.
While it may not seem like a health problem, low self-esteem is common in people with a crooked bite. Such children often end up with issues like stress and anxiety and the consequent health problems related to these issues.
Oral infections are caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth – common in people with a crooked bite. They have been linked to health ailments like heart disease, strokes, and diabetes!
Prevention of a Crooked Bite
Maintain healthy dental hygiene
The most obvious one – make sure you maintain dental hygiene even before your baby gets his first teeth. Wipe his gums with a soft cloth to keep them clean, and avoid putting him to sleep with a bottle to prevent bacterial growth in the mouth.
Put an end to thumb-sucking or pacifiers
Thumb sucking is one of the biggest factors in crooked teeth and bites. Sucking thumbs or dummies (pacifiers), tongue thrusting, etc., can lead to oral issues in infants and consequently a crooked bite.
Consult your dentist/ doctor regularly
Despite your baby not being old enough to have a full set of teeth, a consultation with the doctor about oral hygiene and once teething begins – with dentists – on a regular basis is important. This helps in catching any signs of infections or problems early and treating them before they lead to crooked teeth.
Treatment of a Crooked Bite
Identifying the cause of the problem is important for the treatment of a crooked bite. If early life stress is the cause, the reason for the same needs to be identified and eliminated. Similarly, nutritional problems, low birth weight, and hereditary factors need to be addressed by a doctor as soon as possible! Remember, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment, and, as responsible parents, we shouldn’t be risking our babies’ health at any cost!