Have You Wondered Why We Have Crooked Teeth? | Kelley Mingus | Bend, Oregon

December 19, 2018

Check out Dr. Kelley's article in Bend Health Guide here

Have you wondered why we have crooked teeth?  I hear patients say they got their crooked teeth from their parents.  It's a common belief that crooked teeth is a genetic trait passed down through generations.  Genetics isn't the reason for crooked teeth.  It is the tongue that is responsible. 

The tongue is the most influential factor on the development of the upper jaw.  The tongue spends the majority of our day on the roof of the mouth.  If the tongue doesn't rest on the roof of the mouth most of the time, the result will be an upper jaw that is smaller than it was designed to be.  As teeth begin to erupt they are forced to fit into a bone that is too small.  The result is crooked teeth.
A deeper look into tongue posture concerns reveal an underlying problem:  breathing.  In an ideal world we should spend the majority of our day with our lips sealed, our tongue on the roof of our mouth while passively breathing through our nose.  The reasons we don't breathe through our nose are complex.  Factors that influence our inability to breathe through our nose start at birth.  Breastfeeding requires more tongue development than bottle feeding.  A stronger tongue will support and grow the upper jaw better.  In addition, breast milk plays a major role in the initial immune complex development in our children.  Formula can create allergic response, reducing a child's airway which results in more difficulties breathing through their nose.  The way we wean our children can also play a role in the development of the tongue because chewing helps develop proper muscle and facial structure. 
Processed foods are associated with increased allergic responses, which results in difficulties with nasal breathing.  If our children spend a significant part of the day breathing through their mouth they have an increased risk of having an under developed upper jaw, resulting in crooked teeth.
Crooked teeth aren't the issue, they are a sign of a bigger problem.  Crooked teeth indicate an under developed upper jaw resulting in an inadequate space for our tongue.  If the mouth is closed, the tongue will reduce the airway.  As the airway is reduced one's head posture will move forward in an attempt to increase air flow.  Poor posture is almost always connected to a reduced airway.  Mouth breathing is connected to heart disease, IQ concerns, depression, and ADHD, as well as sleep apnea.  Even bed wetting can be connected to our night-time breathing patterns.  In the mouth, we will see increased grinding and clenching, gummy smiles, gum recession and bone loss, increased gum disease, TMJ disorders as well as facial pain and headaches.  A healthy breathing pattern with the tongue on the roof of the mouth and lips sealed will almost always result in straight teeth and beautiful faces. 
Crooked teeth can be a strong sign of major health concerns that can decrease the quality and quantity of life.  Every day we see patients with airway-related issues.  We provide life-changing treatment that most do not know is achievable.
Meet Dr. Kelley Mingus.  Kelley believes in cutting edge dental technologies, mercury free fillings, braces, beautiful, healthy smiles, and open airway health.  Dr. Mingus grew up in Bend and completed his undergraduate education at Portland State University.  He later received his dental degree from OHSU.  After dental school, he began a practice in Klamath Falls before relocating to Bend, Oregon in 2006 after ten years.