The ways muscles of the mouth and face function, especially the tongue, the lips, the cheeks and the chin, can influence the development of the jaws. These muscles act like the sculptor, with the jaws being the lumps of clay.
Genetics definitely play a part in the development of the jaws, with research indicating up to 40%. The remaining 60% are more related to functions, including feeding, eating, chewing, swallowing, breathing, and anomalies, such as tongue tie, lip tie and upper airway obstructions.
In a growing child, the tongue needs to exert more pressure up against the palate (the roof of the mouth) from the inside out, than the face muscles from the outside in. Consequently, the jaws will then be able to develop optimally. However, if the opposite happens, then the jaws tend to be narrow, the palate high, and the teeth become crooked/crowded due to lacking spaces for eruptions.
If you find that your child has narrow jaws, high palate and/or crooked/crowded teeth, these may indicate possible dysfunctions, which may include mouth breathing, low tongue posture, abnormal swallow, restricted tongue, and others.
At The Myofunctional Centre, we are able to evaluate and offer appropriate management plans to correct orofacial dysfunctions for growing children. The treatment of choice is usually orofacial myofunctional pre-orthodontics, focusing on orofacial myofunctional therapy (exercises), along with the use of various tools and appliances, like MyoMunchee and Myobrace. Additionally, a more proactive approach may be required, using jaw expansion appliances, like the Biobloc Orthotropics. And in cases where the adult teeth still erupted misaligned, then these can be straightened using Invisalign clear aligners, if need be.