Today 98% of the U.S. population end up needing braces. Crooked teeth are simply due to lack of space in the mouth. This means that the upper and lower jaws have not grown out and wide enough. Fortunately this can be corrected at any age, but the earlier it is caught, the easier it is to correct.
The tongue is the main factor in the proper growth of the face. When the tongue is weak and not resting in the proper position, teeth get pushed inward by the lips and cheeks. The tongue should rest fully in the roof of the mouth. This holds the teeth upright and each time a swallow occurs it shapes the face to grow out and wide, making room for all of the teeth to come in straight.
Top 3 Ways to Help Avoid Braces for your Children:
Breastfeed for as Long as Possible - this action makes the tongue strong, coordinates proper swallowing patterns, and helps to shape the roof of the mouth. It teaches a baby proper tongue positioning and swallowing that helps to grow the face out and wide as the child grows. The longer the child breastfeeds the better. Problems with breastfeeding, may be a result of a tongue or lip tie. Have a doctor that is trained in detecting this nuanced condition asses your child.
Lips Sealed and Tongue up While Sleeping and at Rest - this keeps the face growing out and wide passively. This proper posture combats gravity, which will drag the face long and narrow if allowed. Native American women would seal their babies lips together after breast feeding, which you can do to ensure habitual lip seal.
Avoid Purees When Weaning - purees require no chewing and teaches a baby to swallow everything that comes into their mouth. Chewing ensures proper muscle development and develops a baby's ability to move food around in their mouths so they don't choke.
Another extremely helpful tool if your child is a little older: https://myomunchee.com/