Laying The Foundations of a Healthy Dental Life
There’s a fantastic opportunity to share Total Health Dentistry lessons with your children at a young age.
Teaching your children important lessons regarding nutrition and wellness will help them build habits that will continue throughout adulthood.
3 Childhood Champions
From the moment of birth to age 3 is the most critical development period in one’s life outside of the womb. Ages 4 to 6 are an especially important period for any airway, nutrition and structure adjustments needed. Key dental developmental landmarks include latching for breastfeeding, the formation of adult teeth, and a healthy sleep routine.
Below are the 3 top areas affecting a child’s dental development and how parents can provide the best care to support a child’s Total Health Dentistry.
The emotional, behavioural, mental and nutritional benefits of nursing are greatly important, but the dental developmental benefits of nursing are simply extraordinary.
Mother’s can also protect their nursing infant by eating “inflammation-free” to avoid any damage to baby’s sensitive stomach. Try avoiding highly processed foods, vegetable cooking oils (canola oil), industrial animal meat, high-coloured foods, and sugary drinks and snacks.
Benefits of Nursing:
When you nurse your baby, it actually helps your baby’s tongue, cheeks, lips, inner ear muscles to work together which choreographs proper shaping of the arches. Although you can’t see it, nursing also helps to stimulate and strengthen future teeth.
Lastly, nursing can minimize the risk of ear infections for your baby since it promotes optimal ear drainage. Think of nursing as one big workout for your baby’s muscles and face.
Structure For Baby's Mouth
Structure is a pillar of Total Health Dentistry and it begins earlier than you may think. Vital nutrition and digestion for babies and young children will go a long way, but it’s not exclusively what your children are eating that affects their dental development.
Habits To Watch For:
We need to stop putting our babies’ cutlery in our mouths. When we do this, we run the risk of transferring any cavity-inducing bacteria into their mouths. Ensure they have their own set of clean utensils for each meal.
If you notice your child has a thumb-sucking habit, your child is likely compensating for something else. This could be for comfort, airway opening issues, or cranial or ear pressure relief.
Constantly having a soother in their mouth can prevent dental arches from developing. The longer they continue to use the soother, the more chance overcrowding of the teeth.
Both thumbsucking and soother sucking are habits that should be replaced while children are young to avoid any issues in later life.
Watch your babies while they sleep. This is more than a moment of peace for parents, but an opportunity to observe another pillar of children’s Total Health Dentistry: the airways.
If your young child is snoring, grinding their teeth, or over-extending their neck, there is an underlying issue that can be improved.
Things to Consider:
Your child’s sleeping quarters should be quiet, calm and peaceful, even in early years, in order to recharge properly.
Snoring, teeth grinding, and over-extended necks suggest deeper issues with a child’s airway. You will need to consult your family MD to determine if your child has central or obstructive sleep apnea.
Be sure to have their tonsils and adenoids checked, and if your child has an allergy, learn how to avoid the irritation, prevent reactions, and how to treat them.
The most critical development period in one’s life, outside of the womb, is from ages 0–3. At 3 years of age, the most important dental development happens: the formation of teeth. Total Health Dentistry may begin in the womb, but Sante Family Dental recognizes that infant dental care is serious business for parents.
Nutrition and digestion are extremely important for children at this age, contributing to the strength of adult teeth later in life. Nursing your child also contributes to the future oral health of your child.
Throughout ages 4–6, you’ll want to focus on your child’s breathing habits. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient our bodies need. If our bodies aren’t getting the proper nutrients, growth and development can be affected.
Introducing Total Health Dentistry to a child at this age means ensuring that their airways are unobstructed, especially during sleep. While childhood sleep apnea is rare, it should be given ample attention.
Airway-focused braces are a great method to ensure patients enter adulthood with straight, healthy teeth and open airways.
Frequently Asked Questions
Parenthood may be different for everybody, but there are common dental landmarks for all children. The Sante Family Dental team is here to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding dental development in the early years.
We’ve assembled some of our most Frequently Asked Questions for parents with babies, young children, and teens for their Total Health Dentistry.
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