The most common cause of upper airway obstructions, crooked teeth, and TMJ, is having allergies as a child.
Congested breathing can impact jaw growth
If a child can breathe normally through their nose their tongue rests on the palate and inside surfaces of all of the upper teeth. In this position, the tongue balances the inward force from the lips and cheeks, and pushes the teeth and jawbones outward which expands the volume of the airway.
If a child suffers from allergies, if they are constantly nasally congested, they can’t breathe properly through their nose, so the tongue must drop down to allow air to pass over it. When this occurs, the tongue no longer balances the inward forces from the lips and cheeks, and the upper teeth and jawbones are not expanded outward resulting in a narrow dental arch.
Put a stop to the domino effect
When the lower teeth get trapped inside and behind the narrow upper arch of teeth they narrow and crowd as well, pushing the lower jaw back. Because there is not enough room for the tongue within the narrow arches of teeth, the sides of the tongue end up resting between the upper and lower back teeth preventing the lower back teeth from fully erupting.
When this happens, the jaws remain over-closed causing further crowding of the lower front teeth, shortening of the jaw closing muscles, and, potentially, muscle pain, teeth clenching and grinding, and compression of the jaw joints (TMJ).
Ultimately, the back of the tongue ends up forced into the throat area which can result in a breathing obstruction, upper airway resistance syndrome, snoring, and/or obstructive sleep apnea, in addition to TMJ and posture problems.
Keep those teeth growing in straight
If your child suffers from nasal congestion, we recommended keeping a close eye on tooth and jaw development in conjunction with your dentist. But rectifying any problems while your child is still growing is the best way to set him or her up for a lifetime of healthy, attractive teeth.