Causes of Teeth Overcrowding

Our 32 permanent adult teeth have many jobs including chewing, assisting with speaking, helping to form our facial structure and sharing smiles with friends, but sometimes these multipurpose tools can feel the squeeze of being crowded in the mouth. Teeth overcrowding each other is the result of a dental malady known as malocclusion. Malocclusion is the general term for teeth that move out of perfect alignment, which is logically known as occlusion. 

Causes for malocclusion

Genetic disposition

Blame mom and dad! The truth is, a child’s genetics are not just about what color hair they get, the shape of their eyes and nose, or their height. The genetic disposition of the person also determines the size of the dental arches in the upper and lower teeth. If the dental arch is too small, the space for permanent teeth to grow into will be limited and the teeth will be crowded.

Early tooth decay

When parents provide infants with milk formula, juices — even with water mixture — or allow small toddlers too much sweet stuff and soda they can develop early tooth decay. It may seem OK, because the second set of teeth will replace them, but the truth is that if the baby teeth are lost to early tooth decay, the remaining teeth shift in the mouth and will hinder how the permanent teeth grow in. Baby teeth serve the purpose of being space savers for the permanent teeth. If they are not where they should be, the permanent teeth erupt in a crowded and overlapping pattern in the mouth.

Mouth breathing

The way we breathe when we sleep makes a difference in the development of our mouths. Normal breathing (inhaling and exhaling) can occur through both the nose and mouth but nose breathing is better.  When a young child is a mouth breather, and the mouth remains open, the tongue is not able to rest in a proper position. This causes muscles in the jaw and face to be restricted in growth which results in a narrower jaw and an underdeveloped facial structure.

Abnormal lip and palate development

This is known as a cleft lip, a split or opening in the lip or roof of the mouth. Teeth overcrowding can result from this developmental childhood malady, even though the condition itself can be repaired.

Fix the malocclusion now

Crowded teeth have many causes but it is important to remember that crowded teeth signify that perfect occlusion has not been achieved. Such misalignment can hinder proper brushing, flossing, speaking and even chewing which can hinder overall body health. 


Request a dental appointment here: or call Diamond Head Dental Care at (808) 450-2101 for an appointment in our Honolulu dental office.

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