What Is Causing My Child’s Overbite?

Overbite dental occlusion ( Malocclusion of teeth ). Medically accurate tooth 3D illustration

You love your child’s smile. What parent wouldn’t? There’s something about the smile of a child that just warms the heart and soul. But what if their smile, as charming as it is, is poorly aligned? Overbites, a type of malocclusion, have the potential to be problematic when it comes to maintaining oral health. But what causes them in the first place?


Overbites happen when the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw. While common, when it’s too extreme, it threatens the health of both teeth and gums. This is most commonly due to genetics. The size and shape of your child’s teeth and jaw are genetic factors that can result in an overbite. It could be that the mouth is too large or doesn’t have enough space to fit the teeth properly.

Childhood Habits

Alternatively, some overbites are caused by childhood habits. Behaviors like thumb sucking, long-term bottle or pacifier use, nail biting, and chewing on hard objects can all result in an overbite. If genetic factors that predispose a child to having an overbite already exist, these habits can make it more extreme. Even something as simple as losing baby teeth too early can be the cause of malocclusion.

Fixing an Overbite

So how do you fix an overbite? The answer depends on the reason the overbite happened in the first place. If the mouth is too small for the teeth, extracting baby teeth can be an effective way to correct it. This gives permanent teeth a better chance at growing in properly. Braces can be another viable solution as well. Cervical pull headgear and jaw surgery are also options if necessary, though jaw surgery is more likely to be necessary for adults who need overbites corrected.

When it comes to an overbite, sometimes it helps to understand what the cause is. It may be due to genetics, which isn’t something you can really change, only address. It can also be a result of childhood habits, which sometimes can be changed for the better. Regardless of the cause, however, in the end the best thing to do is to have it fixed if it’s going to cause a problem. This will give your child a better chance at having a healthy smile for the rest of their life.

Braces are one of the most common ways to address malocclusions, like overbites. Check out the different Types of Braces we offer and ask your child’s orthodontist about which one might be right for them.

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