Oral dysfunction as a cause of malocclusion

Orthod Craniofac Res. 2019 May;22 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):43-48. doi: 10.1111/ocr.12277.


This narrative review surveys current research demonstrating how oral dysfunction can escalate into malocclusion, acquired craniofacial disorder and contribute to generational dysfunction, disorder and disease.

Introduction: Baseline orthodontic consultations are generally recommended beginning age seven. However, the dysmorphic changes that result in malocclusion are often evident years earlier. Similarly, following orthodontic treatment, patients require permanent retention when the bite is not stable, and without such retention, the malocclusion can return.

Setting and population: Narrative review article including research on infants, children and adults.

Materials and methods: This review is a brief survey of the symptomology of orofacial myofunctional disorder and outlines 10 areas of oral function that impact occlusal and facial development: breastfeeding, airway obstruction, soft tissue restriction, mouth breathing, oral resting posture, oral habits, swallowing, chewing, the impact of orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) over time and maternal oral dysfunction on the developing foetus.

Conclusion: Malocclusions and their acquired craniofacial dysmorphology are the result of chronic oral dysfunction and OMD. In order to achieve long-term stability of the face, it is critical to understand the underlying pathologies contributing to malocclusion, open bite and hard palate collapse.

Keywords: breastfeeding; malocclusion; oral dysfunction; orofacial myofunctional disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dental Occlusion
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malocclusion*
  • Mastication
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Open Bite*