From Biosis 12, September 2006
Dr. Verigin’s Comment:
Why Not Raise Healthy, Attractive and Intelligent Children?
by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
What is the proper focus of children’s dentistry?
Most general dentists will say it’s treating decay and filling the cavities caused by it. A few will focus on “prevention,” offering fluoride treatments and new toothbrushes to each child they see. Even fewer will talk about the role of good nutrition. But ask an integrated, biological practitioner, and you’ll get the rarest answer of all: supporting proper facial growth and development.
Specifically, our office focuses on monitoring the proper maxillo-facial, dental orthopedic growth and development. (Maxillo refers to the upper jaw and jawbone.) What we do – and don’t do – in this area is crucial. After all, it affects the child for life.
If the head and neck are to grow properly, four major factors must occur in sequence. Everything starts with the cranial base: the foundation on which a face is built. By a child’s fifth birthday, this base is 90% grown. Two years later, 90% of upper jaw growth is complete. By the time the child turns seven, the mandible, or lower jaw, has caught up with this growth.
Though each factor grows at a different rate, all factors occur at the same time. What I, as a dentist, want to know is how they interrelate for any given child.
For instance, if a child does not or cannot breathe through the nose, the sinuses won’t develop properly. Routine mouth-breathing results in an anterior open bite: the molars no longer meet when the mouth is closed. This leads to the development of a narrow, high-vaulted palate. (Finger-sucking leads to similar results.) If the tonsillar or adenoidal tissues are enlarged, the bony interrelationships will be altered. Certain areas of bone won’t grow efficiently. In all cases, the child’s airway is narrowed.
It should be obvious that such problems undermine a child’s wellbeing. Unable to breathe properly, a child will lack enough space for all teeth to come in. The resulting crooked teeth will dictate later orthodontics. The child’s speech and swallowing patterns will be adversely affected. Overall body growth will be hampered and endurance, limited, since mouth-breathing is much less efficient than nose-breathing.
Time and again, I have see how such changes can have a snowball effect. The entire person is affected, and not just physically but psychologically, mentally and emotionally.
Of course, nutrition plays a big part in the genesis of such problems, especially the age at which the child was first given food other than breast milk, and what sort of food was given. But, as always, there are numerous factors at work – especially the expectant mother’s health.
A recent study of 100 samples of placental blood at birth found that more than 200 toxins and 240 chemicals were detected in every case. Some of this toxication was surely due to the presence of amalgam fillings in the mothers’ mouths. More than half the volume of such fillings consists of mercury. The rest is other heavy metals such as silver, copper, tin and zinc. Women who plan on getting pregnant greatly enhance their future children’s health by having amalgams removed and replaced with nontoxic materials, as well as undergoing chelation prior to conception.
Women with a history of vaginal infections (Candida) who deliver their children vaginally predispose their children to fungal diseases such as earaches, diaper rash, breathing problems and sinus issues. But again, such problems are entirely avoidable. Those who plan on pregnancy can have their biochemical imbalances and disordered terrains treated so their children may be healthy and attractive, free of childhood diseases and altered psychological behaviors.
All of the problems described above can be lessened or even prevented through good nutrition – the mother’s before conceiving and giving birth, and the child’s afterwards. Encouraging optimal homecare habits also goes a long way. Built-up dental biofilm should be vigorously disturbed several times daily to enhance the growth of healthy teeth, a healthy body and a face that will attain its best genetic potential.
All is not lost if your child develops a soft tissue dysfunction through mouth-breathing, tongue-thrusting, incorrect swallowing or other bad myofunctional habits. The key is treating them early. If you wait until junior high or later, the child’s facial features may have been already negatively affected. When this happens, orthodontic treatment can’t be stable, and the compromised facial development can lead to TM joint Dysfunction and a lifetime of pain in the face and jaws.
A better way of treating such issues is to introduce a Myofunctional Research trainer system before the child turns seven. These appliances are designed to actively retrain the mode of the tongue and peri-oral muscles, correct breathing habits and align the front teeth. We’ve used them successfully in our office for several years now to correct poor myofunctional habits, dental alignment and TM joint problems. The health and facial benefits are huge. Even larger is the amount of money saved by eliminating the need for future orthodontics.
When a trainer is used early, later interventions are often unneeded.
Learn more about these appliances at www.myoresearch.com.