What causes buck teeth? As a parent, is there anything you can do to help prevent your child from developing them? Gum
Protruding front teeth are usually a result of malocclusion (also known as an overbite), which can be naturally occurring or caused by thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, according to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), or bone loss from gum disease. Identifying the reason for the overbite will enable you to prevent it from worsening, and help reduce the progression of the condition.
The AAPD describes tongue thrusting as "an abnormal tongue position and deviation from the normal swallowing pattern". If the tongue is thrust against the teeth for short spurts at a time, it probably won't affect the teeth's positioning. However, if the tongue consistently rests against the front teeth, the habit may result in an open bite or protruding incisors.
Thumb sucking is another cause of buck teeth, says the American Dental Association. The force of the sucking may affect the mouth, teeth and palate alignment. Sometimes children grow out of the habit around the age of 2 to 4 years old. If they don't, parents may be able to deter the behavior. For example, parents can praise their little one if they go a while without sucking. Thumb sucking may also be a response to anxiety, so parents can try their best to soothe their child to eliminate the child's need to put their thumb in their mouth.
Sometimes, protruding teeth happen naturally and that's what causes buck teeth. An overbite can be hereditary. In that case, there's nothing parents can do to prevent buck teeth. What they can do, however, is schedule a visit with an orthodontist if it looks like the child's jaw and permanent teeth are crooked. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that children visit the orthodontist by the time they have reached 7 years of age. An orthodontist will most likely be able to determine what your child's bite will look like. After this first consultation appointment, the orthodontist can formulate a treatment plan to correct the bite and get ready for braces, which would be applied between age 8 and 14.
No matter someone's age or bite, great oral care habits are essential. It's best to start a great oral hygiene routine at a young age. Brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that's extra gentle on tooth enamel and helps fights cavities with clinically proven fluoride formula for children is a great place to start.