Helping Your Grandchildren Develop Proper Oral Health


People always want to know when their children should first see a dentist. The answer is at about 1 year of age. However before the child is born the fetus is developing an oral cavity that can be influenced for good through the nutritional health of the mother. The next thing is the proper nursing of the baby. A baby should be nursed in an upright position. A baby can breathe and swallow mother’s milk simultaneously for the early months of its life. This cannot take place if the baby is lying down and with its nose blocked from breathing. On my recent humanitarian visit to Guatemala I observed that the mothers there did this correctly. The Mayan babies were held in a wrap that went over their mother’s shoulders and held them upright as they nursed. The proper position and correct breathing through the nose develops the baby’s airway and lengthens and forms the mandible (lower jaw). The width of the palate and the whole position of the front of the face are affected in their growth when the child is held upright to nurse. Nitric oxide is formed in the nose and thus breathed in as it should be for the overall health of the baby. When a child starts out as a mouth breather, they often stay that way. They have problems later on with an underdeveloped face, leading to a shorter mandible and thus crowded teeth and tongue space. This all leads to pediatric sleep apnea and a much greater potential for full blown sleep apnea as an adult. As the child develops through its first year the ability to swallow and breathe at the same time is done away with as the throat lengthens. Observe and educate your daughters and granddaughters how to nurse correctly.