via Dr StevenLin: The way we raise our children is drastically different from how our grandparents were raised. From breastfeeding to the first foods we give our children, everything has changed. It may not seem so drastic to you at first, because each of these changes in ideas happened little by little over time.

If you were to take all the gadgets and convenience foods we have today and drop them in front of a mother in the 1920s, I suspect she’d be pretty confused as to what to do with it all. Pacifiers, rubber nipples, formula, juices with zero fruit, teething crackers, gummies, and more… All of these items are relatively new and are contributing to changes in jaw and mouth development.

Additionally, we’ve come to accept formula and processed snacks such as Cheerios as suitable nutrition for our delicate babies. We know these commercial replacements contribute to diseases later in life such as allergies, asthma, eczema, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. Yet, we continue to use them, mostly because I believe a majority of parents don’t realize these changes are causing such drastic damage.

As a result of all these changes we are seeing more malocclusions (various teeth misalignments) needing medical attention such as braces and smaller airways, which are contributing to the unrealized sleep-disordered breathing epidemic. In the 10 years I’ve been in dental practice, I’ve seen first hand the impact that breastfeeding, diet, and baby gadgets have on the health of patients later in life.

Fortunately, functional dentistry is building a way to prevent crooked teeth. It depends on how we raise our babies. It also depends on recognizing how food shapes dental growth. Let’s look at what can be done when you raise your babies from breastfeeding until their first meals.

Recent study thoroughly examines the links between infant health, habits, and teeth alignment

A recent study in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, found significant evidence suggesting infant health, pacifier use, and breastfeeding impact mouth development. Specifically, how each of these three factors caused (or didn’t cause) teeth misalignment.

This study was designed to examine the way babies grew up in their first few months when they were born to adolescent mothers. Young moms were chosen because there have been previous studies that indicate babies to younger mothers often have teeth misalignment. So, researchers set out to find out which health indicators were the cause of dental development issues in babies of young mothers.

The study highlighted a couple of important pieces of information:

  • Poor perinatal health increased the chance of malocclusions (misaligned teeth)
  • Pacifier use made teeth misalignment more likely
  • Children who breastfed for longer had a lower rate of dental issues

Children in this study who scored low on the Apgar score (a means for measuring vitality and health of a baby) were more likely to have permanent dental issues. Younger moms tend to use pacifiers more and stop breastfeeding earlier, which is now known to contribute to teeth misalignment.

While most dentists, including myself don’t think pacifiers aren’t all bad (especially in babies six months and younger), they shouldn’t be used later than necessary. Interestingly, babies in this study who never used a pacifier had a high chance of misaligned teeth – suggesting six months is a good time to stop pacifier use.

This study also found the longer a mother breastfed, the less likely the child ended up with dental misalignment – adding to the list of benefits of breastfeeding. This study recommended mothers breastfeed their children until 12 to 24 months, for the best chance of preventing malocclusion.

How to prevent braces in your child

It’s taken years for the first children who used pacifiers and bottles to grow up for us to realize the extent of their influence. In today’s young adult generation we are seeing the need for more dental work, including braces. People now in their 20’s and 30’s are also experiencing a high rate of airway issues and sleep-disordered breathing.

Since we know development of the mouth, airway, and jaw begin at a very young age, we should aim to learn more about what we can do for our children. Dentists especially should be at the forefront of this research and educating their patients, especially those with young children, about what they can do to prevent braces later down the road.

To prevent braces in your child, here are some of the most important steps you can take from day one:

    • Stop pacifier use at six months old – When you use a pacifier past the age of six, it begins to change the shape of the mouth and negatively impacts oral development.
    • Breastfeed until 12 to 24 months – Breastfeeding is critical to preventing braces. The movement of the tongue during breastfeeding is part of what helps the mouth develop fully. Also, the nutrients in breastmilk are far superior to any formula you can find.
    • Avoid using formula – Formula use has been associated with several illnesses later in life. Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid formulas.
    • Start with chewy foods – When your baby begins eating solid food, make sure some of it requires chewing for jaw development. This means avocados, bananas, eggs, steamed vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
    • Feed your child nutrient-dense foods – Good nutrition is critical, if not the most important factor in ensuring your child’s mouth properly. I’ll give you the steps in The Dental Diet.
    • Avoid processed foods high in sugar and grains – Just skip the processed garbage altogether.
    • Incorporate myofunctional training – When you incorporate myofunctional training at home, you’ll not only prevent braces in your child, you’ll also ensure their breathing habits and tongue posture are as they should be. This will impact your child’s speech, chewing patterns, sleep, and facial development.

To prevent braces, incorporate these 7 tips into how you raise your children. Your little one may not know it yet, but you’re ensuring they have a healthier life.

Via Punch: Simple ways to prevent cavities in children

If proper care is not taken, babies can develop cavities which are a chronic disease ten times more common than asthma in children. Baby teeth can get cavities which will transform into a dental infection. The tooth decay is a serious, infectious and transmittable disease which can spread quickly without proper precautions taken.

A cavity develops when a tooth decays and if left untreated, it can destroy the tooth and kill nerves at the centre. The hole grows bigger and deeper over time and they can also be called dental caries.

People often think that a baby’s teeth don’t need too much attention because, eventually they will all fall out as they grow older. But the truth is our baby’s teeth matter even more as infants because, primarily the teeth are very important to a child’s physical, emotional and social development.

You should note that the teeth aid in speech development, they build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile, they also enable a child to pay full attention while learning in school without the distraction of dental pain and also, they save space in the jaw that is needed for proper development of permanent teeth.

However, a research shows that early childhood cavities can be prevented using some simple and DIY tips.

But before the simple tips are carried out in preventing cavities in children, mothers especially pregnant women should make sure their own mouths are healthy by getting a professional dental examination. Also, they should practise good daily oral hygiene and care. A study shows that this reduces transmission of cavity germs from mothers to infants.

Image source: Pixabay

Bottle hygiene

The baby’s bottle gives toddlers a great comfort but when you misuse them, it can cause tooth decays and other dental problems. It is very important that the baby’s bottle is hygienic at all time. Always use breast milk, water or formula in baby’s bottle and not juice, soda or any other forms of sweetened drinks as this is the very first step to preventing cavities in children. Also, do not put your infants to bed with a bottle unless it contains diluted water. A study shows that it is advisable to wait till the baby is about 12 months before you start giving them juice and then gradually limiting it to meal and snack times. Do not rush your baby to consuming solid meals.

Pacifier hygiene

If your child uses a pacifier, ensure that it is properly taken care of. Do not dip it into anything sweet like sugar and honey as this can cause cavities in your baby’s teeth. When the pacifier falls to the ground, do not attempt cleaning it with your mouth as cavity-causing germs can be transmitted to the child without you knowing. Also, always clean with hot water and if you decide to wash with soap, make sure you rinse thoroughly before returning it back into the baby’s mouth.

Limit the sugar intake

A study shows that it is advisable to introduce healthy eating to our babies. Always ensure to provide healthy snacks like meat, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables for them at all times. Also, learn to limit the sugar intake in quantity and frequency. Sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities in the tooth. Before the teeth begin to grow, gently wipe gums and inside of the mouth every day especially after feedings and before bed, with a clean, warm cloth.

Detect early cavities

It is better to detect early cavities in your baby’s teeth. Tooth decay is very painful and when it starts, it can affect the overall development of the child. Detecting early cavities is the best way to handle cavities. Plan a checkup routine to keep your child on top of oral health. Ensure that your child brush and floss by doing it with them. It is a fun way to guide them into a healthy brushing routine. This process gives you the opportunity to monitor their progress and brush time.

Keep to appointment

Establish the habit of keeping to dental appointment. An American study shows that the child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his or her first birthday. Visit a dentist at least every six months interval for proper cleaning and checkup. This process allows you know when you have a cavity and how to prevent it from becoming a big problem.

Via Johns Hopkins Medicine: Tooth Decay (Caries or Cavities) in Children

What is tooth decay (caries or cavities)?

Tooth decay (destruction of tooth structure) is the disease known as caries or cavities. Tooth decay is a highly preventable disease caused by bacteria and other factors. It can occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as milk, soda, raisins, candy, cake, fruit juices, cereals, and bread, are left on the teeth. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth change these foods, producing acids. The combination of bacteria, food, acid, and saliva form a substance called plaque that sticks to the teeth. Over time, the acids produced by the bacteria eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.

Who is at risk for tooth decay?

We all host bacteria in our mouths which makes everyone a potential target for cavities. Risk factors that put a person at a higher risk for tooth decay include:

  • High levels of the bacteria that cause cavities
  • Diets high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars
  • Water supplies with limited or no fluoridation
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Reduced salivary flow
  • Age (children and older adults are at an increased risk for tooth decay)
  • Diets high in sweets, carbohydrates, and sugars

What are the symptoms of tooth decay and dental caries?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of tooth decay and dental caries. However, each child may experience them differently. Signs may include white spots on the teeth that appear first. Then, an early cavity appears that has a light brown color on the tooth. The tooth color progressively becomes darker and a hole (cavitation) may appear. Symptoms, such as sensitivity to sweets and cold beverages or foods may occur.

How is tooth decay diagnosed?

Dental caries is usually diagnosed based on a complete history and physical exam of your child. This may be done by your child’s health care provider or your child’s dentist

How can tooth decay be prevented?

Preventing tooth decay and cavities involves these simple steps:

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one appears. Brush the teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, or supervise them brushing their teeth.
    • For children less than 3 years old, use only a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
    • Starting at 3 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth daily after age 2.
  • Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet and limit or eliminate sugary snacks.
  • Consult your child’s health care provider or dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride , if you live in an area without fluoridated water.
  • Also ask about dental sealants and fluoride varnish. Both are applied to the teeth.
  • Schedule routine (every 6 months) dental cleanings and exams for your child.

What is the treatment for tooth decay?

Treatment, in most cases, requires removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a filling.

What are fillings?

Fillings (also called restorations) are materials placed in teeth to repair damage caused by tooth decay (caries or cavities). Advances in dental materials and techniques provide new, effective ways to restore teeth.

There are several different types of restorations, including:

Direct restorations

These require a single visit to place a filling directly into a prepared cavity or hole. Materials used for these filings include dental amalgam, also known as silver fillings; glass ionomers; resin ionomers; and some composite (resin) fillings.

Amalgam fillings have been used for decades, and have been tested for safety and resistance to wear. Dentists have found amalgams to be safe, reliable, and effective for restorations.

Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials made from fine glass powders and acrylic acids. These are used in small fillings that don’t have to withstand heavy pressure from chewing. Resin ionomers are made from glass with acrylic acids and acrylic resin.

Indirect restorations

These require two or more visits and include inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, and bridges. These are constructed with gold, base metal alloys, ceramics, or composites. At the first visit, a dentist will prepare the tooth and make an impression of the area that will be restored. At the second visit, the dentist will place the new restoration into the prepared area. Some offices use newer technology called CAD/CAM (computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing) that allows them to produce the indirect restoration in the office and deliver it at the same appointment, saving the patient a return visit.

For an indirect restoration, a dentist may use an all-porcelain, or ceramic, application. This material looks like natural tooth enamel in color and translucency. Another type of indirect restoration may use porcelain that’s fused to metal, which provides additional strength. Gold alloys are used often for crowns or inlays and onlays. Less expensive alternatives to gold are base metal alloys that can be used in crowns and are resistant to corrosion and fracture. Indirect composites are similar to those used for fillings and are tooth-colored, but they aren’t as strong as ceramic or metal restorations.

This article is not completely about natural remedies, but it highlights the easily available home remedies to try and the warning point where you need to bring your kids to a proper dentist. Definitely worth giving it a try!

Via Toothache Remedies for Children

Tooth pain in children can be as distressing for the parent as it is for the child. A persistent toothache in a child usually indicates a problem that requires professional care. The most common causes are cavities and gum disease. Short-term tooth pain can also occur with a bump to the teeth, a small scrape in the mouth or food caught between the teeth. Sinuses, ear and jaw problems can also cause pain that feels like a toothache. Home remedies can help alleviate toothache pain in children, but see your dentist for any toothache lasting more than 24 hours.

Brush and Floss

Gently brush the teeth and floss on either side of the sore tooth to remove any food that may be wedged between teeth. If your child is old enough to brush and floss on her own, allow her to do so while you supervise to be sure it is done correctly.

Saltwater Rinse

If your child is old enough to “swish and spit” a saltwater rinse, it may help relieve toothache pain and reduce swelling around the sore tooth. Make the rinse by adding roughly a half teaspoon of table salt to a cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve the salt. Be sure the rinse is not too hot.

Give your child a sip of the rinse, instruction her to swish it around in her mouth, especially near the sore tooth. Have her swish for about 30 second and then spit the rinse into the sink. You can use the saltwater rinse every few hours if the pain continues. Just make sure your child spits out the mixture instead of swallowing it.

Ice Pack

Wrap an ice pack or a small bag of frozen vegetables in a towel. Hold the ice pack to the area of soreness for about 15 or 20 minutes. Depending on the problem, an ice pack may augment rather than relieve your child’s pain. If he complains, take the ice pack off. If ice provides relief, you can use it every few hours. Just be sure that the skin completely rewarms between applications. Do not put ice directly on the skin or the painful tooth.

Over-The-Counter Medication

Medication may temporarily relieve your child’s toothache pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) can be administered, under the guidance of your child’s doctor. Do not give your child aspirin unless specifically instructed to do so by your child’s doctor. Benzocaine — a local anesthetic — can be applied directly to the affected tooth, following the directions on the package.


Seek medical attention right away if your child has a fever with a toothache, you notice a lump near the sore tooth, his pain is severe or he has sustained a forceful blow to the mouth. Follow up with your child’s dentist for any toothache that does not go away with 24 hours or recurs.

Via Hello Magazine: How to limit the effect of sugar on children’s teeth

Kids tuck into more sugary snacks during the summer holidays than at any other time of the year, according to parents. With their children enjoying the freedom of the summer break, mums and dads are struggling to monitor the sugar intake of their little ones, the study found.

Worryingly, two thirds of parents admitted it’s an uphill struggle to prevent their kids from snacking on sugary treats. And as many as one in three even went as far as to reveal they don’t monitor how much sugar their kids consume. Yoghurts are the biggest issue, with seven in ten parents admitting their children eat these at least twice a week – despite some pots containing 15g of sugar or more.

While 49 per cent of mums and dads said their offspring will eat at least a couple of sticky cereals bars every week – even though they often include at least five teaspoons of sugar. Low sugar items such as fruit and vegetables are kept to a minimum for many kids, with one in ten parents revealing their children eat these foods once a week or less. And half said their offspring eat crackers and breadsticks on one occasion each week – if that.

A spokesman for which commissioned the research of 1,000 parents with children aged six months to 16 years, said: “These are truly worrying statistics. ‘Despite oral health improving in children in recent decades, the number one reason for hospital admissions remains tooth decay even though children receive free dental care.

“Simple things like applying fluoride on children’s teeth twice a year from an early age can make a real difference, and regular visits to the dentist should be a given. It can be challenging for parents during the summer period with its change of routine to monitor their child’s sugar intake.

“Compounding this is the lack of consistency in food labelling. The majority are labelled with adult recommended daily intakes and there are numerous different colour systems utilised, adding to the lack of clarity. I would recommend that parents take their children for regular detail checkups and ask their dentist for advice on how to avoid high sugar foods.”

It also emerged 36 per cent of parents said their kids are exceeding the recommended daily sugar allowance of 6 teaspoons. Alarmingly 40 per cent of those polled thought the high sugar threshold is greater than it actually is. And a third of mums and dads couldn’t correctly explain what ‘sugar free’ or ‘no added sugar’ means, with some under the impression it means the food product is suitable for vegetarians. Almost one fifth said they are less likely to buy a product for their kids if it is labelled ‘sugar free.’ While just 18 per cent look at the traffic light labelling on food, despite recommendations consumers check this.

Among the most common methods used by parents to limit the effects of sugar on their children’s teeth are using a straw when drinking, ensuring their teeth are brushed twice a day and regularly visiting the dentist.


  • A fluoride varnish treatment is a great way to protect against cavities and prevent further tooth decay (kids over three twice a year)
  • Whenever your child does have a sugary snack, make sure they do so at mealtimes. At mealtimes they produce more saliva, which helps to reduce the effects of harmful acid attacks.
  • Encourage your child to drink fruit juices and sugary drinks through a straw.
  • Change4life have a great programme called Sugar Swaps. Sugar Swaps makes it easier to change the unhealthy parts of your diet for more smile-friendly options
  • Avoid sippy cups and bottles from an early age, especially at night
  • The best time to create healthy eating behaviours is when a child is between three and five. Choosing healthier options at this time in your child’s development is more likely to have a lasting impact on their dental health.
  • Limiting fruit juice to meal times will greatly reduce your toddler’s exposure to sugar, which can badly damage their teeth.


Dental health for kids is a very important part of hygiene, which is the reason why we need to guide our children from a very young age about dental care and hygiene.  One of the best ways to get started is to build a routine and ask your children to follow it as that will keep them away from oral health issues, cavities, and tooth decay. Here are a few tips that will help you out for sure:

teaching-kids-about-oral-hygieneTeach Them about Proper Oral Hygiene

You need get started at a very young age. If your child is an infant, you can use a soft bristle brush to clean their gums. If they are getting their first teeth, be very vigilant about their dental hygiene and clean their mouth with a damp wash cloth after every meal.

Be Gentle

Baby Skin is very soft, so you need to use a soft bristle brush and use only a thin layer of fluoridated toothpaste. Remember that dental health for kids is important from a very young age.

Teach Your Child How To Brush

Once your child perfects their pincer grasp that is generally around the time they turn two or three, start teaching them how to brush. Get them a small toothbrush and only apply a pea sized amount of toothpaste. Teach them to gently brush their teeth and tongue. They should to brush independently once they turn five or six. Flossing is an important aspect of dental hygiene, so you can introduce that once they are seven or eight.

Avoid Sugar

Don’t go overboard with the sugar because that increases the chances of tooth decay. Teach your child to brush their teeth after every sugary snack because this will improve their oral hygiene.

Fight Tooth Decay

Your main aim should be to fight tooth decay from a very young age, which is why mothers are advised to avoid letting their child sleep with a bottle that is filled with anything other than water. Cut back on the sippy cup too because using it too much also causes dental problems.

Take Them to a Dentist

Once your baby gets all their teeth, which is around their first birthday, you should take them to a dentist. It is important to make them realize that dental hygiene is very important and the dentist helps us in taking care of our teeth. You can even ask your dentist to teach you about proper dental care, how to avoid tooth decay, and can ask them to inspect your child for cavities.


Keep Away the Cavities

You should talk to your dentist about fluoride applications and dental sealants to keep your child’s teeth safe and oral hygiene intact. The sealants prevent food from being stuck in the teeth and the fluoride prevents the enamel from decaying.

Childproof the House

You might know this, but there are several studies about dental health for kids that prove that children under the age of 7 get half of their dental injuries inside their house and most of them are injured by a piece of furniture. Thus, make sure that you keep an eye on the little ones to keep them away from the dental injuries of all kinds.

In conclusion, here is how you can take care of the dental health of kids.