THE BENEFITS OF having straight teeth are many. Studies indicate that people with straight teeth are seen as more successful, intelligent, and likely to get dates than people with crooked teeth. So what makes teeth grow in crooked so often?
The Soft Foods Theory and Crooked Teeth
According to the Soft Foods Theory, modern eating habits are a factor. By not eating the same tough, fibrous diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we don’t stimulate as much jaw growth, giving our teeth less room to grow in straight. However, a hunter-gatherer diet will wear out the chewing surfaces much faster than a modern diet, so we don’t recommend it.
Crooked Teeth Genetics
Genes also play a role. Someone who gets Dad’s big teeth and Mom’s small jaws will probably end up with some crowding problems. The children of parents who had braces are also more likely to need braces as well.
Our Daily Habits Can Shift Our Teeth
Another big factor is daily habits, such as thumbsucking or pacifier use past age four, a tongue-thrust reflex, habitual mouth breathing, or even something as simple as frequently resting the jaw on the hand can have a cumulative impact on the position of the teeth, the shape of the dental arch, and the way teeth drift later in adulthood.