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4 Important Things About Your Kid’s Teeth (That Your Dentist Probably Never Told You)

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As a dentist I enjoy nothing more than helping parents to raise kids with healthier teeth. As a parent, you would only ever want your child to grow up with a healthy smile. But for many parents, the reality is a lot different. The dentist is a scary place for a child as well as their parents!

Kids that never need dental treatment not only miss out on an expensive and traumatic experience. They are just all round healthier.

The problem I find is that for most parents, it’s a confusing time topic as what they should be doing for their kid’s teeth.

There is a lot of different information on what is best for good dental health.

My dental practice focuses on the root cause of disease – and mainly food! My goal is to always help parents feed their kids the right foods so that they never have a problem with their teeth.

Let’s look four common myths that will help you raise a kid with healthy teeth.

1. Your own dental health counts.

One strategy parents never think to help their kid’s teeth is to look after their own. And it’s goes further than just genetic risks for certain diseases.

Your own dental health is dependent on the resources your body has for healthy teeth. For instance, vitamin D, important for bone and teeth health, is passed to your baby via breastmilk. If you don’t have enough, then your breastmilk has lower vitamin D. And so does your baby.

Or when you kiss your child (and share utensils) you’re sharing bacteria from your own mouth. Your child’s mouth is designed to take bacteria from your own mouth. Which means a healthy mother’s mouth means healthy baby teeth!

2. Breastfeeding for longer is important.

The benefits of breastfeeding for the health of our kids is well known. But for dental health in particular, it’s the best start for your baby’s teeth.

Breast milk contains nutrients (like vitamin D) and many others crucial for bone and teeth health. It also sends immune factors as well as probiotic bacteria from the mother’s gut!

Researchers are now suggesting that mothers breastfeed their children for at least six months if possible. After that you can go on a child-led weaning program and introduce solid foods.

3. What your child eats will impact whether they need orthodontic braces.

One big problem I see often is that we don’t give our kids real food to chew. Chewing is helpful to grow the jaw that ends up housing your kid’s teeth. When your kid’s jaw doesn’t grow enough, teeth are crooked and a child will need braces.

You can prevent braces by allowing your kid to chew real food. Try raw veggies or the joint parts of meat that need to be ripped and torn.

4. Go to a dentist earlier for a full mouth check.

Many times when I see kids with dental problems, they’ve had them for a long time. Dental decay is a chronic disease and a slow process that is present in your kid long before a hole in the tooth forms.

Children should be seeing the dentist far earlier detection of disease. However, we think that it’s the teeth are the only thing to worry about in our kids mouth.

Other issues inside a child’s mouth can have life-long impacts on their dental health.

Functional problems including a tongue-tie may also cause difficulty breastfeeding. If left untreated, it can lead to poor feeding, lip and tongue habits that lead to crooked teeth.

Always remember: food first

My philosophy as a dentist is to prevent disease through nutrition. Every time your child eats, they are chewing and using those precious teeth.

Dr. Steven Lin is a dentist and writer, with a focus on preventative nutrition. His goal is to help parents to raise kids completely free of dental disease through natural delicious food.

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