Whether you were born with naturally straight teeth or spent a few years in braces, figuring out how to prevent teeth shifting from occurring is probably a high priority. But there are ways you can keep it from happening, and it only takes a little bit of effort. Part of knowing how to prevent teeth shifting, though, starts with understanding why teeth shift.

Why Teeth Shift

Your bones grow, and teeth are bones, so there’s an explanation for their shifting nature. And no, it’s not your wisdom teeth’s fault. Besides genetics, thumb sucking, abnormal tooth development, and injuries, other things cause teeth to shift over time.

Here are the main reasons why your teeth may shift:

  1. Your lower jaw is always growing, moving forward over time. But it’s also getting smaller in width. Even though it happens slowly, this change is just enough to move your teeth and potentially overcrowd your lower teeth.
  2. Grinding your teeth can cause changes to your bit and result in shorter teeth, all of which can cause teeth to shift a bit.
  3. Losing a tooth permanently will cause the other ones to try and fill the gap, causing them to shift a bit.
  4. Bone loss from periodontal disease can cause teeth to shift due to less support being in place.
  5. Your age plays a role too. As you age, your mouth – or lips – get tighter and cause more pressure on your teeth from the outside.
  6. Braces and other orthodontic treatments put teeth in a less stable position – you moved them on purpose. So, your teeth will naturally try to move back once those treatments are gone. That’s why it’s critical to use a retainer after dental work.
  7. Also, sleep position and posture play a potential role. Pressure you put on your face is pressure on your teeth. Slouching and using your hands to rest your face on or sleeping on your side could be an issue.

How to Prevent Teeth Shifting

Now that you know a few reasons that teeth shift, here’s what you can do to help prevent it from happening. Taking care of your mouth is the first and most important step for anyone. Regular visits to your dentist to maintain your oral health are key. At home, making sure you brush your teeth and floss regularly can also help, because a healthy mouth has less overall problems. Aside from that, you should also address any issues you may be experiencing, such as bite problems, grinding, pain, or potential orthodontic needs.

For example, you may want to consider asking your dentist about a nightguard to protect against teeth grinding or work to reduce your stress and anxiety so that you aren’t caught grinding your teeth in moments of stress. Another way to help is to refrain from eating hard or tough foods that can crack or chip your teeth or put pressure on them.

So what’s the best way to ensure your teeth don’t shift? A retainer. Retainers are the best way to prevent teeth shifting, especially after any dental work. It may seem unrealistic to wear them forever, but it’s necessary to maintain a beautiful, straight smile. And yes, you can get a retainer even if you don’t have any straightening done to your teeth, just to prevent the natural shifting that occurs.

Zeal Dentistry Can Help

All teeth shift. But if you experience teeth that are shifting more noticeably and you’re concerned, it’s time to consult a dentist. The dentists at Zeal Dentistry are ready to help you take the next steps in preventing teeth shifting. Call them today at 415.792.4771 to learn more.