Starting your child at an early age (1 to 2 years of age) to have regular yearly visits to the dentist and initiating oral hygiene habits at home (brushing and flossing) are the best ways to practice preventive oral and dental health maintenance for your child.
The American Dental Association (ADA) says that early childhood caries are the number one chronic disease affecting young children. Therefore, it is extremely important in young developing bodies to identify and treat oral decay and disease in childhood and adolescence because there can be long term negative effects on the child’s health getting older.
Sometimes, it is very difficult for parents to always recognize oral and dental health problems. In addition to frequent check-ups to the dentist, it is also very crucial to focus on preventative oral and dental care of your child’s teeth, gums and mouth to ensure positive outcomes and to prevent pain and complication in the future.
What Your Doctor May Tell You About Your Child’s Oral and Dental Health
Most family or pediatric dentists suggest semiannual cleanings as a maintenance protocol for your child, which typically includes fluoride treatments or fluoride supplements as extra protection against tooth decay. Dentists will tell you that fluoride protects the tooth enamel and can reverse low levels of tooth decay and keep new cavities from forming.
If your child is an infant, a pediatric dentist may suggest an infant oral health exam which includes a risk assessment for caries in the mother and the child. In addition, pediatric dentists warn against giving babies and toddler’s sippy cups and bottles filled with sugary juice, soda or other sweet liquids. They will also mention that thumb sucking, once the permanent teeth are in, may cause dental or speech problems.
Your child’s dentist may also tell you the teeth grinding or “bruxism” is usually not harmful and will eventually stop when the permanent molars come through.
The dentist will be focused on keeping your child’s teeth, gums and mouth healthy with dental maintenance checkups and oral cleanings.
In the case of tooth decay, cavities are most often filled with composite (“white”) fillings but occasionally mercury amalgams are used. Mercury amalgams may contain as much as 50% mercury, even though mercury amalgams are still accepted by the ADA (American Dental Association) as safe. The ADA has stated that there is insufficient evidence to show mercury release from a dental amalgam.
Your child’s dentist may also apply sealants, a composite protective coating, to protect your child’s back molars from decay.
Pediatric dentists feel that flossing is important because it removes food and plaque lodged in between the teeth. Gingivitis is a gum disease that can also affect children, and your child’s dentist will likely tell you that yearly gum exams and brushing and flossing your child’s teeth will prevent that problem.
Another Way to Think About Oral and Dental Health
Weston A. Price DDS wrote in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration about his discovery that cultures with the best dental health were always synonymous with excellent overall physical and nutritional health and a healthy diet and way of life. So what is most important for parents to know and to do?
Find a biological dentist or a dentist trained in integrative/holistic health. Biological dentists apply a “whole body” approach to oral health. A biological dentist knows that there is a symbiotic relationship between your child’s physical health and immune system and what is going on with your child’s teeth, gums and mouth. Oral and dental health practices should not be isolated from the total body health and the state of your child’s immune system.
Any mercury in your child’s mouth may negatively impact your child’s neurological functioning in addition to a large array of symptoms that can be caused by mercury exposure.
Biological dentists also understand that decay, injuries, infections or other imbalances in your mouth are closely tied to imbalances in other parts of the body. Therefore, a biological dentist will stress the importance of a healthy diet, including nutritional supplements, using environmentally safe products at home and following safe dental practices.
Here are some common dental health practices of a biological dentist that will can a difference in your child’s overall health and well-being. Biological dentists:
- May not use mercury amalgam fillings because of toxic exposure of mercury affecting neurodevelopment of a child; instead will use porcelain fillings.
- May not use fluoride because of its neurotoxicity.
- May not put sealants which are made from hormone disrupting Bisphenol A (BPA) in a child’s mouth.
- Are very conservative with their drilling practices and avoid crowns on a cavity by using inlays or onlays.
- May use digital x-rays sparingly due to the rise in brain tumors from dental x-rays (for more information, see research of Elizabeth Claus PhD, MD of Yale University).
- May test patients first with applied kinesiology, blood serum or darkfield microscopy and be mindful of the child’s health status and medical history to select the most appropriate filling materials.
- May use natural alternatives to antibiotics whenever possible including: homeopathy, vitamin C, goldenseal, Echinacea, xylitol, stevia, ozone and other natural antimicrobial treatments.
- May use infrared devices for healing after surgery to speed up the healing and reduce discomfort and pain.
- May not recommend extracting wisdom teeth unless they are inflamed and causing a problem for the child.
- May try to avoid root canals by using homeopathy, herbs, ozone and other natural remedies to fight tooth abscesses.
- May tell you that teeth grinding or bruxism may be due to parasites (and can often be treated with homeopathic remedies such as Cina
- Will likely tell you that teeth decay, gingivitis and plaque have to with the child’s diet, unhealthy blood cells and level of toxicity in the body so that it may be necessary to test for heavy metals, yeast overgrowth, parasites and other pathogens that would be compromising oxygen in the child’s cells and leading to the onset of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Will likely tell you that every tooth is connected to a meridian organ as seen in the Acumeridian tooth organ relationship found in a traditional Chinese meridian organs chart.
- May remove mercury amalgams appropriately and safely with ozone therapy and a dental dam to ensure that the patient does not risk any further mercury toxicity.
- Will likely tell you that a mother’s microbiome can affect her infant and probiotics should be given to help restore good microbial balance.
- May use a darkfield microscopy to test saliva in the mouth for parasites.
- May recommend and use non-abrasive natural toothpastes, natural mouthwash, dental floss, other dental hygiene products.
- May recommend specific supplements to improve oral and dental conditions.
Oral and Dental Health Checklist to Start
Make dietary changes:
Is your child craving and eating primarily a refined carbohydrate, high sugar, trans-fatty acids and fast food diet? Eliminate all processed foods, and eat a whole foods diet. Gluten- and dairy-containing foods are commonly known to produce an inability to focus when eaten.
- Eat whole foods
- Buy organic foods
- Remove all GMO foods
- Remove all fast and processed foods
- Remove all foods with:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial ingredients
- With an elimination diet, remove potentially inflammatory foods such as:
- Strictly limit:
- Refined salt
- Refined carbohydrates
- Consider implementing the Feingold diet
Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Wild salmon
- Organic chicken
- Organic turkey
- Grass-fed ghee
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Grass-fed beef
- Essential fatty acids from:
- Cod liver oil
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Evening primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Walnut oil
Remove vegetable oils such as:
Include plenty of high-quality proteins with every meal, such as:
- Pasture-raised eggs and chicken
- Grass-fed beef
- Wild-caught fish
Heal the gut with special diets such as:
- GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Paleo diet
- GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet
- Body Ecology Diet
- The ketogenic diet
Learn more about healing diets and foods.
Use digestive aids with your practitioner’s guidance:
- Betaine hydrochloric acid
- Digestive enzymes with DPP-IV for gluten and casein intolerances
- Proteolytic enzymes
Clean up your environment:
Have you identified and removed possible environmental triggers, such as mold, dust, pet dander, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs)?
Have you identified and removed possible toxic exposures in the home from purchased products, such as detergents, soaps, lotions, and other cleaning and personal care products?
- Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
- Remove carpets
- Use non-toxic cleaners
- Use non-toxic building materials
- Green your home
Avoid exposing your child to chlorine, fluoride, and bromine because all three are in the same family as iodine and can displace iodine in the thyroid gland.
Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests for:
- Possible food sensitivities and allergies
- Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM
- Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The NutrEval by Genova Diagnostics Labs covers the following areas:
- Cellular energy
- Mitochondrial metabolism
- Neurotransmitter metabolism
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Toxin exposure
- Detoxification need
- Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
- Gluten and casein sensitivities
- Organic acids: The organic acid test by Great Plains Laboratory for:
- Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
- Other microbial infections
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Genova Diagnostic Labs to identify:
- Altered gastrointestinal function
- Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
- Chronic dysbiosis
Add fermented foods and probiotics daily:
These will keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong.
- Eat kefir yogurts
- Eat fermented vegetables
- Eat umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
- Eat miso soup, if soy is tolerated
Some good probiotics are:
- Gut Pro
- Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
- Garden of Life
- Klaire Labs
Use homeopathy specific for oral and dental health:
- Arnica for trauma
- Hypericum for pain
- Aconite for fear
- Belladonna and silica for abscesses
- Chamomilla for teething and irritability
- Hepar sulphur for pus
- Nux vomica for swollen gums
- Calcarea fluorica cell tissue salts to improve tooth enamel
- Ferrum phos cell tissue salts for bleeding
Sequential homeopathy can also be specific for oral/dental symptoms if needed.
Use herbs, essential oils and natural supplements with your practitioner’s guidance:
- Coconut oil
- Tea tree oil
- Red clover
- Aloe vera
- Colloidal silver
- White willow bark
- Clove oil
- Witch hazel
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Grape seed extract
- Folinic acid
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin C
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC): prevents upper respiratory infections for those prone to chronic infections
- MSM transdermal cream
- Epsom salts bath
See a well-trained acupuncturist:
A well-trained acupuncturist can help treat dental pain and inflammation.
See a NAET or BioSET practitioner:
See a NAET or Bioset practitioner for an allergy elimination treatment to eliminate food allergies.
See a homeopath or naturopath:
Homeopathic and naturopathic physicians can treat oral and dental issues naturally so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.
Help your child detoxify:
- Ionic foot baths can help detox unwanted pathogens and are easy to do with children
- Infared saunas can detox heavy metals through the skin by sweating. However, this form of detoxification may not be suitable for young children who lack the ability to sweat.
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Breiner, Mark, DDS. Whole-Body Dentistry: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health. 2011.
Price, Weston A., DDS. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. 2009.
Thom, Dickson, DDS ND, et al. Bioregulatory Medicine: An Innovative Holistic Approach to Self-Healing. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018.