As a dentist, I found that parents often asked one question.
Why does my child need braces?
For a long time, it would make me feel uncomfortable.
Why? Because I didn’t know the answer!
Child after child would come into my dental office, with crooked teeth and tiny jaws. We would treatment plan them for braces, to give them a nice straight smile.
But in my dental training, we were only vaguely taught that crooked teeth were genetic. I was never told that crooked teeth can be prevented.
Listen: On This Glorious Mess, Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss whether they could have prevented their kids’ crooked teeth. (Post continues…)
If you stop and think about it, an alarming amount of kids today need braces. The REASON is that their jaws don’t grow enough to fit their teeth.
In my career, I’ve seen only a handful of kids grow a jaw that can fit all of their teeth (wisdom teeth included).
That led me on a journey to understand how nutrition shapes our dental and overall health.
I learned two critical things:
1) Crooked teeth can be prevented
2) Food is the primary factor for jaw growth
If you’re a parent, you need to know the signs of jaw growth, so you can intervene in your child’s dental development.
We should no longer wait until our children to reach adolescence, extract teeth and put braces on. This approach fails to address the cause of crooked teeth.
Here are five quick tips to help your child develop a straight stunning smile.
1) Breathe right – We are designed to breathe through our noses. When we do so, it helps expand the upper jaw, which is what gives us a straight smile. Kids who mouth breath are at risk of a high palate, and narrow jaw.
Check if your child breathes through their nose. When they watch television, do they sit with an open mouth? Do they sleep with an open mouth? Do they have allergies blocking their nose?
2) Chew – Young jaws are like any other joint in the body. To grow big and strong they need exercise. The best exercise is through food. Make sure to feed your kids lots of raw vegetables, meat to tear off the bone and cured tough foods to use those chompers.
3) Vitamin D – We know that vitamin D helps kids to have strong bones. But it’s also crucial to prevent tooth decay and provide the building blocks for growing jaws.
Make sure your kid gets at least 30 minutes of sunlight per day. Also, include vitamin D rich foods in their diet like: