Diet and your child’s smile

Diet has more influence than you might think on oral health, especially in the formative years. GRAHAME DUTTON of Duxton Dental explains.

Many parents don’t realise just how much a healthy diet can help the development of a child’s jawline and teeth. I have recently read The Dental Diet by Australian Dentist, Dr Steven Lin. Science shows that our bodies are an intricate reflection of three things: our ancestral health, the microbes that live within us and our genes. The study of epigenetics has recently revealed that our reflection in the mirror can be influenced, more than we used to think, by our diet.

Every piece of food we eat sends a message to our ever-listening genes and this sparks a chain reaction that starts in our mouth and travels throughout our bodies.

One of the most important things that has been discovered about this fascinating process is how important a good balance of fat soluble vitamins (A, D and K2), calcium and pre- and pro-biotics is to be in tip-top shape.

You do have control over the health and wellbeing of your family’s mouth, teeth and entire body and that power lies in what you feed them.

Dr Lin explains that the old view that chronic diseases are mainly genetic is fast becoming disproven. His book introduces the epigenetic model of crooked teeth which illustrates that if we feed our kids the right foods the skeletal system will develop in the way in which it was intended.

Few people know how their jawbone grows or why their teeth form the way they do. But just as you can eat certain foods to make your heart or hair healthier, you can also eat certain foods that will make your teeth and gums healthier. Parents are excited to hear that there are things they can do to set up their children’s mouths for healthy growth and development. It isn’t all predetermined by their genetics.

When we have a healthy mouth, the rest of the body will follow. Food which has the power to balance our oral and gut microbiomes is our mouth’s best medicine. These influential foods are not rare or expensive. It’s simple healthy eating. Eat as much fresh vegetables and legumes as you like, have moderate amounts of dairy, meat, fish, eggs, good fats and oils, nuts, seeds and spices, and limited amounts of grains and fruits.

So, essentially, go for a diet that is low carb, low sugar and low in processed foods. Supplement if necessary with appropriate amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

That’s my recipe for a healthy and beautiful smile.

Six ways to help your child’s smile

  1. Develop nutritious eating habits. Food makes all the difference.
  2. If your child snores, grinds their teeth, or mouth breathes have an orthodontic check at age seven.
  3. Brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily. It doesn’t take long.
  4. Get regular dental check-ups.
  5. Create a beautiful smile by organising your child’s orthodontic assessment.
  6. Protect those pearly white adult teeth with mouth guards, fissure sealants and fluoride – they only get one set.

03 348 5488 / duxtondental.co.nz