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5 Overbite Causes You Should Know

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
An overbite is a common orthodontic issue. Discover five common overbite causes.

A small lower jaw, tooth loss, and early childhood habits like thumb sucking are a few of the reasons why you may have an overbite. Read on to learn more about what causes an overbite.

Small Lower Jaw

The most common cause of an overbite is a small lower jaw, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. When the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw, it can cause a jaw alignment issue. The teeth of the lower jaw may continue to grow upwards until they hit the backs of the top teeth or the roof of the mouth. As the lower teeth grow upwards, they frequently become overcrowded and result in teeth alignment issues.

Tooth Loss

Losing your baby teeth too early, or losing adult teeth, can cause your teeth to shift out of alignment. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a missing lower tooth can cause a condition similar to having a small lower jaw. As a result of this, tooth and jaw alignment issues can develop.

Oral Health in Childhood

Oral habits in childhood can also cause an overbite to develop. Behaviors that can drive teeth out of alignment and lead to an overbite include:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Lip sucking

The impact of these behaviors varies based on their frequency, duration, and intensity. Thumb sucking, for example, is a common behavior among children and is only a cause for concern if it persists beyond the age of five—which is when adult teeth typically begin to come in.

Overly Developed Bite Muscles

People with bite muscles that are extremely strong can develop overbites, the American Association of Orthodontists explains. People who frequently clench or bite their teeth can over-develop these muscles, causing an overbite to occur.

Inherited Overbite

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites are dental traits that are often inherited from your genetic background. If you have an overbite, you were likely born with it, rather than developing it during your lifetime. If you are interested in straightening your teeth and fixing your overbite, speak with your dentist or orthodontist to help you determine the best approach.

“There are numerous options available to straighten your teeth,” Charles Sutera, DMD, owner of Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “Modern digital advances have revolutionized the orthodontic industry to allow for possibilities that had not existed a couple of decades ago,” Sutera says. Invasive braces are no longer your only option for getting straight teeth and an aligned bite.

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