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One of the good things about babies is that you have a long time between when you know you are going to have a baby and the arrival of their first teeth. This is important because the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease are transferrable – i.e. they can be passed from one person to another. This means you should try and make sure that those people likely to be in regular and close contact with your baby are free of dental decay and gum diseases. You should certainly ensure that you, your partner and your other children do not have any untreated cavities or active tooth or mouth disease prior to the arrival of your baby’s first teeth.
When you consider what your new born child will look like in the future you may be interested to know that facial growth is influenced by growth and development of the jaws, both of which continue to grow into your child’s early adult life. This growth may be modified from the very beginning of life, as infantile suckling, eating and breathing habits cause changes to occur in the jaws of your developing child.
Naturally genetics will determine the size and shape of your child’s teeth, but equally it is fair to say that it is the habits your child develops that may result in either a perfectly balanced face and beautiful smile or overcrowding, under-developed jaws and tooth decay – and a lifelong struggle to maintain general health. Your role in promoting good habits in your child starts very early.
The discussion about breast feeding versus bottle feeding is not one that a dentist generally gets involved in – except to point out that the nipple has been designed to allow a baby to suckle in the best way possible. The flow characteristics of the breast together with the shape of the nipple while the baby is suckling promote correct development of the baby’s face and jaws.
In some cases there may be a restriction of movement of the tongue, which is sometimes referred to as a tied tongue. The release of a tied tongue is a very simple procedure that will aid every aspect of your child’s oral development – not only help with easier feeding. This applies equally to breast or bottle fed babies.
If you choose to bottle feed your baby then it is worthwhile putting some thought into the design of the teat that you choose. The NUK™ teat is broad and flat and has been designed to replicate the shape of the nipple during suckling and ecourages a suckling action that best simulates breast feeding.This helps with the correct development of your baby’s pre-maxilla – the front part of the top jaw.
Teats that are more rounded in shape encourage babies to wrap their tongue around the teat and suck which may distort the growth of the pre-maxilla and lead to a narrowing of the entire top jaw.
For more information please call our friendly team on 0749262240
It is an exciting time when your baby is ready to begin eating solids. It can also be a very messy time. When babies move from a liquid diet to food that has texture, they are also moving from an infantile swallowing pattern to an adult swallow. The transition from infantile to adult swallow can be quick and complete, or slow and intermittent – or may even never happen. One of the things that delays the transition to an adult swallow is our reluctance to accept a bit of mess.
When babies are learning to eat solids they initially struggle to get the food to the back of their mouths. They are used to suckling on a nipple or teat that is not positioned at the front of their mouths but is directing milk towards the back of their mouths. Now, with solids, the same action from their tongue tends to push food out of their mouth. This is where it gets messy! And if you repeatedly wipe your baby’s face with a spoon to clean up the food you may confuse things.
When babies are breast or bottle feeding, one way to get them to latch on is to gently stroke their cheek with a finger near the corner of their mouth. This causes a reflex action and babies turn their heads towards the finger, latch on and start to suckle using an infantile swallow pattern. If you repeatedly wipe your baby’s face with a spoon to clean up the food smeared on his or her face, you may well trigger a reflexive turning of the head and suckling – ie. you may promote an infantile swallow. The secret to a quick and complete change to an adult swallowing pattern is to leave food on your baby’s face until the end of the meal. Let your baby make a mess while they are learning how to handle this new food and then wipe his or her face clean at the end of the meal.
Sipping cups are another convenience that send mixed messages to your baby and should not be used until well after your baby has learned to eat solids without making a mess.
Acidic foods with sugar are the worst foods for causing dental cavities. Sugar is broken down by bacteria in your child’s mouth to make acid. If the sugar is not present for long, or the frequency of sugar intake is low, then saliva has a chance to clear the sugar and not much harm is done. When the sugar is frequently present or present for more than a few minutes at a time, then saliva cannot provide adequate protection and your child’s teeth will decay.
Sugar combined with acid is bad news for teeth, which is why soft drinks and lollies should be reserved for very special occasions only – until your child is just about ready to leave home! Fruit juice is also a combination of acid and sugar so be very wary about encouraging your child to drink fruit juice or reconstituted juices too regularly. Another source of concentrated sugar is dried fruit and dried fruit rolls. These foods are high in sugar and tend to stick to the teeth which prolongs the time they are actively destructive. Beware also of foods marked as “Low fat” as many of these have lots of sugar added to make them more palatable. Healthy snacks include cheeses, whole fruits, bread and avocado. Healthy drinks are plain water and unflavoured milk.
Children should receive their carbohydrates (sugars) from their food at mealtimes and not have them added to their drinks.
Cleaning your child’s teeth can be daunting. Initially you can wipe them clean with a cloth, but this window of opportunity is short-lived. Once your child can sit up without help it is time to get more thorough.
If you are right-handed it is probably easiest to sit your baby on your left hand side next to the sink. You both face in the same direction with your left arm holding your baby preventing him or her from wriggling off the bench. Hold your baby’s head still with your left hand while you brush the teeth with your right hand. (Obviously, if you are left-handed the opposite applies.)
By cleaning your baby’s teeth like this not only can you hold your baby safely but you will also find that you can use the toothbrush effectively without hurting your baby by bumping the brush into his or her lips, cheeks or gums.
Toothpaste designed for children has a milder taste, doesn’t foam up as much, and is lower in fluoride than toothpaste designed for adults. Choose a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles.
As your child gets older and has more teeth you will need to become an expert at using floss. It is easiest to use something like a Flossette™ or “floss fork” for this – Flossettes™ are easier to use in small mouths.
It is important that you feel comfortable cleaning your child’s teeth because you should ideally be doing this until your child is about seven years old. Do encourage your child to clean his or her teeth alone before they reach seven, but remember that most children do not have the ability to do the job properly until around that age. Products like disclosing solution – which highlights bacteria on teeth and shows you where to brush most carefully – should be used while your child is learning to clean his or her teeth alone. However, until your child can clean those areas completely you will need to do the follow-up cleaning for them.
Babies are born good looking. By the time your child gets to pre-school there will be more variation between classmates, but children of that age still tend to look good. By the end of primary school there will be greater variation again with fewer children in the “good looking” group. Sadly, by the end of high school we have the adult situation, where most of us get by, but very few of us have retained our initial potential to look as good as we did in our early childhood! It is not all about losing our soft hair and clear skin – our facial structure also changes as we get older and usually to the detriment of our appearance. Why does our face change and why do some people stay beautiful?
There are three critical components of balanced facial growth that lead to a beautiful adult face: normal tongue function; lip seal; and nasal breathing.
The normal tongue function has been addressed earlier in the discussions on tied tongues and the importance of developing an adult swallowing pattern.
Lip seal and nasal breathing are two aspects of the same conundrum – we all do whatever we can to breathe, and it is obviously good that we do. However, if we have problems with our airways we tend to adapt to make breathing easier and that may have long-term consequences for our faces. Essentially what happens is that a predominantly mouth breathing child’s face gets longer, the cheek bones are flattened, the top jaw is narrowed, and the lower jaw is pushed back. So it is important that your child breathes with his or her mouth closed both day and night. Our grandparents had it right when they exhorted us to “stand up straight, keep your shoulders back and shut your mouth so you don’t catch flies”.
A noisy sleeper is reason for concern – and certainly no child should snore. If you have a child who is a noisy sleeper it can be difficult to explain the extent of the problem to your GP, paediatrician or ENT surgeon. Luckily for us we now live in an age of cameras on mobile phones so it is easy to take a short film of your child sleeping if you are concerned. This will help you show your doctor what is happening at night so that he or she can make an assessment as to what action, if any, is necessary. And it is important to do this early on. By the age of eight, 60% of your child’s facial growth is already completed, and by twelve that figure has risen to 90%. If you have any concerns about your child’s facial development – do not be afraid to raise those concerns so that any treatment can be carried out before facial growth is complete.
If you have a query or would like to book an appointment, please contact our friendly team – we are happy to assist you. Phone 0749262240
I believe that the smartness, the good looks & the survival go together.
I have included some quotes from eminent researchers and clinicians. These quotes are not included to frighten anyone, but are included to allow your awareness of some medical facts.
“Sleep apnoea will be the most common chronic condition in industrialised countries” John Remmers MD
John Remmers is the Harvard trained physician who coined the phrase, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
“Snoring is not normal and should never occur” David Gozal MD
“Children who snore – even if treated for tonsils and adenoids by the age of six – are four times more likely to be in the bottom 25% of the class in Grade 8. This makes the 3 years to 5 years age group critical for optimal development.”- Dr Jim Papadopolos
Snoring, tonsil and adenoid hypertrophy, and facial changes are a good screen for childhood sleep apnoea.
The vital point to grasp is this: “Structural narrowing of the pharynx plays a critical role in most, if not all, cases of OSA.” – John Remmers MD
Structural narrowing of the pharynx starts early in life and if untreated at this time is difficult to correct later. Orthotropics is one way of providing early correction, but please be aware that orthotropics is not for everyone.
Orthotropics is facial growth guidance. Impaired oral posture doesn’t allow the face to grow to its full genetic potential. Orthotropics changes the face for the better by encouraging correct oral posture.
There are many reasons for the mouth posture to have been altered from the ideal, and it can often happen very early on in life. Breastfeeding, diet, nutrition, and allergies are all factors that can influence oral posture. Biobloc Orthotropics® seeks to undo the structural damage to the face that may have occurred when the posture was not correct, and then to stabilize the facial growth and tooth positions by working toward a habitually normal oral posture.
Typically, the top teeth fall back in the face and the lower jaw drops back as a consequence of poor oral posture. If the lower jaw drops more than the upper jaw, it can look as though the upper front teeth “stick out.” But normally, they are also too far back in the face, and need to be corrected by being brought up and out. The upper jaw also needs widening to form a palatal shape that will accommodate normal tongue posture, up against the roof of the mouth. The lower jaw is encouraged to grow forward by teaching the child to hold their teeth together, with their lips together and their tongue to the roof of the mouth. While this is not always easy for the child, it works!
The results of Orthotropics® are often to be compared to the alternative of jaw surgery rather than to orthodontic alternatives, which often fix the bite by bringing the upper teeth backward. Orthotropics® tries to avoid pulling teeth backwards and, in doing so, has been shown to increase the airway size and make the face more attractive than conventional orthodontics.
If you would like to know more about Orthotropics then please visit www.orthotropics.com and www.facefocused.com which are two websites developed by the world’s leading orthotropic practitioners. We are indebted to Drs John Mew and Bill Hang for teaching us the orthotropic method.
We provide individualized treatment to promote optimum Orofacial muscle development, function and harmony. Muscles that REST in the proper position have a positive impact on dental health, speech, swallowing and breathing.
Orofacial myofunctional Therapy (OFM) may be recommended for a variety of functional or cosmetic reasons. OFM Therapy programs are designed specifically for each individual and aim to retrain and develop healthy and harmonious orofacial musculature and promote an ideal physiological relationship with speaking, chewing and swallowing. This improves dental and orthodontic treatment outcomes; enhances one’s appearance and can help maintain optimum dental health for a lifetime of benefits.
Correct function of oral and facial muscles is paramount for correct facial development including tooth alignment, jaw shape and jaw function. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are any pattern involving the oral and orofacial muscles that interfere with normal growth, development and function.
OFM Therapy may be recommended as an adjunctive therapy to Orthodontics, Tongue Tie, Cosmetic Dentistry, Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) and Sleep Apnoea treatments and Neuromuscular Dentistry.