Straight talk about your child’s teeth

Straight teeth and a healthy smile can give a person amazing confidence. On the other hand, teeth that are in an incorrect position may impact on self image, attitude and confidence of children (and adults too). This is especially important when children are developing social and psychological maturity in the teenage years.

Hiding their smile

It is very common for a child with crooked teeth to avoid smiling or to cover their mouth when smiling. There is a surprising amount of evidence that would suggest that kids are frequently teased and bullied when there are obvious crowding or spacing issues with the teeth. This can make a child less outgoing and less engaging in social situations due to the idea that other people may be judging them based on their teeth, having a huge negative impact on their self-esteem and confidence.

The effect of crooked teeth

Teeth function best when oral hygiene is good and when they are in the correct position. There is not a great deal of scientific evidence available to say that crooked teeth are bad. However, it is believed that teeth in an incorrect position can cause significant wear on teeth, gum problems and sometimes, bite shifting, which can contribute towards unfavourable jaw growth or an asymmetry in a child’s jaws.

What can impact on my child’s oral health?

Things to look out for in your child include:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Snoring and teeth grinding
  • Fingernail biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Crossbites
  • Buck teeth and teeth that stick out
  • Deep bites and overbites
  • Open bites
  • Space loss or crowding
  • Abnormal eruption of teeth
  • Underbite


Some of these problems can have significant consequences, so if you notice an issue or suspect a problem, dental professionals recommend being dilligent and taking your child to see a specialist orthodontist for a consultation. Often, early intervention can prevent issues from becoming a bigger problem later on.

Shakespeare Orthodontics

This article was written by Dr Mo Al-Dujaili (BDS, DClinDent (Ortho), MRACDS (Ortho), MOrthRCSEd), a highly qualified specialist orthodontist, who works at Shakespeare Orthodontics, a private orthodontist practice in Auckland. Find out more at



  1. SarahBlair 31/03/2018 at 9:49 pm

    It’s so unfortunate that getting braces is so expensive! My 14 year old really wants them as her teeth are crooked but there is no way that we can afford them. My 16 year old had a similar problem with crooked teeth but hers became straight as she grew, poor Jorja, it doesn’t look like that will happen to her

  2. kymmage 30/03/2018 at 10:58 pm

    We are watching my youngest daughter’s mouth at the moment, suspecting a very expensive time in the future. She sucks her thumb and has a lip tie as well. These two things have shifted some of her baby teeth forward and backwards. It’s a hard thing, because I know it’s not an easy habit to break, that thumb sucking. Not sure how we will tackle it. In the meantime though, I was really pleased that recently she told me her teeth hurt and she wanted to see a dentist. We made an out of cycle visit which was a new experience for us. It went well, no real issues but we were able to talk directly to the dentist about our worries too which was good for advice. I might look to make a further specialist visit as well!

  3. felicity beets 30/03/2018 at 3:41 pm

    I wish the dentist was not so expensive but at least for children basic dental care is free- I know of a few adults who have decided to get braces when they are older when they could afford to.

  4. ShakespeareOrthodontics 18/03/2018 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you for the feedback and comments left. Mo here – Specialist orthodontist (Auckland).

    I thought I would clarify – the intention of this article was to highlight recent scientific publications and literature that have reported that for some children, crooked teeth can affect their confidence, self-esteem and positive self-perception.

    The take home message should not be that every child who has crowded teeth will not smile or needs treatment… 🙂

    As a “soon to be parent”, both my wife and I have found “so much” information that is not necessarily very accurate. Literature summaries seem very difficult to find. I thought I would try and shed some light on dento-facial development and teeth health in a series of articles – watch that space…

    Many thanks and have a great day!


  5. Kjgee 16/03/2018 at 9:32 am

    My two eldest children are at that age where their teeth are awkward looking but neither seem to care or be embarrassed, thankfully. All my kids have regular dental visits and brushing morning and night is a big deal here! It’s something I regret – not taking better care of my teeth.

  6. Mands1980 13/03/2018 at 8:49 pm

    I have already made an orthodontist appointment for in a few weeks for my daughters teeth to see what they say. It seems still a lot of children need braces these days but earlier intervention these days can help. Luckily my daughter isn’t worried about her teeth but will do in the teenage years I guess.

  7. Bevik1971 08/03/2018 at 3:38 pm

    My 5 year old’s second teeth are yet to come in – I have some crooked teeth and when I was younger I had to get some teeth pulled to make room for others, hence the crookedness not enough room! Our daughter’s first teeth are really good, nice and straight and good gaps between them, but will await the second lot 🙂

  8. MuddledUpMolly 08/03/2018 at 2:20 pm

    Our little girl has yet to have all her teeth through but it is always a timely reminder reading articles like this to be proactive and look out for anything that may impact on her adult teeth.

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