Tooth Crowding, Misalignment, Abnormal Bites and Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Shrinking jaws are resulting in dental problems such as tooth crowding, misalignment, abnormal bites, and impacted wisdom teeth. Many people view braces for themselves or their children as an expected dental need. However, here’s what’s interesting. Merely 150 years ago these dental problems weren’t common. So, what changed?
Stanford Study Shows Shrinking Jaws Are Not Genetic Issues
Researchers agree that not enough time has passed to attribute shrinking jaws to genetics. Evolution would take longer to develop shrinking jaws. This means the underlying reason is environmental.
Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich, an author of the study, calls the jaws epidemic serious. Lifestyle choices can affect physiology. Furthermore it has affected the physiology of our jaws.
Research shows there were changes in behavior as a result of agriculture, due to being more settled in one location and also from industrialization. To receive adequate nutrition today, less chewing is involved. Think about protein shakes. You can drink your meal and not have to chew at all.
Another contributing factor is how the jaws are positioned during sleep. Unlike our ancestors, we don’t sleep on the hard ground. We have soft mattresses and pillows. It’s easier for jaws to fall open during sleep, which disrupts positioning and swallowing.
How Can You Counteract Shrinking Jaws?
You can begin promoting solutions in how you raise your children. You can help your children by doing the following:
- Have children chew sugar-free gum
- For babies, avoid mushy food during the transition to solid foods
- Deal with sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea
- Have children do exercises to develop breathing and swallowing patterns (as early as two years old) to promote jaw growth (See Forwardontics.)