Kids teeth: the low-down from an holistic dentist
We get the inside line on how to care for your kids’ teeth, without the chemicals
When it comes to our kids teeth it can be a daily battle to even get them to brush let alone think about flossing. Throw in the idea of oil pulling or the fluoride debate and suddenly things become very confusing. But before you even get them in the bathroom with the twice daily battle to brush there are other things to consider, including diet, breath and sleep patterns. We asked holistic dentist, Dr. Lewis Ehrlich for his advice on little teeth.
Diet is the most important consideration when it comes to a child’s teeth, says Dr. Ehrlich.
“Eating natural, healthy, seasonal, organic whole foods is good. They should be eating carrots, and nuts, and breaking down good quality grass fed meats in moderation,’’ he says.
“We’re seeing a lot of jaw fractures in children at the moment because they’re eating too much soft processed food. Chewing real food is actually really healthy for our teeth, because we’re putting them to work. The chewing also elongates kids jaws and makes their jawline develop correctly under the right amount of tension. I tell my patients to avoiding refined sugars, gluten, refined gluten, and highly processed dairy. Processed dairy is really inflammatory to the tonsils – inflamed tonsils can lead to mouth breathing which can cause decay.”
Watch them breathe
Dr Ehrlich says breathing is one of the most important things for a child to be doing correctly.
“They should be breathing with the tongue at the roof of their mouth, and they should breathe through their noses,’’ he says.
“A good rhyme is: ‘noses are for breathing, mouths are for feeding’. If the tongue position is right, and they’re breathing through their nose, bacteria in their mouths will be reduced. As a result, we’ll have less inflammation in the kid’s body, and if there’s less inflammation, the teeth will be in better shape.”
The daily routine
Brushing and flossing twice a day is what we are all accustomed to, but another really important habit to get into is oil pulling, which is simply holding coconut oil in your mouth for a period of time – usually 20 minutes – says Dr Ehrlich.
“It can reduce inflammation, fight decay and prevent gum disease,’’ he says.
“They’ll be very resistant, because they’ll think it’s gross. So do 30 seconds, and then a minute and build up that way.”
Natural or mainstream toothpaste?
“For kids under the age of six we recommend using a kid’s toothpaste containing fluoride, but one that doesn’t contain Triclosan, a known carcinogenic,’’ says Dr Ehrlich.