The Root of The Matter

Essentials For Your Child's Dental Health!

April 02, 2023 Dr. Lauren Ballinger, D.M.D. Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist Season 1 Episode 4
The Root of The Matter
Essentials For Your Child's Dental Health!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Improve your child's health from birth by understanding the vital role of the mouth in practically every aspect of developmental health, physically, mentally, and even emotionally. 

Your children will thank you! You can help ensure your child has the best future possible by starting their oral health right!

Oral health is possibly the key to many child development issues and can help ensure every child achieves their physical and mental capacity in their later years! 

Our special guest today is Dr. Lauren Ballinger, a board-certified pediatric dentist and a certified specialist in oral facial myology. 

She practices pediatric airway-focused dentistry and orthodontics in Western Mass. She is the founder of Good To Grow Pediatric Dental Wellness, Airway Growth and Sleep Solutions, and the Nurture Frenectomy Center. 

Dr. Lauren founded the Endeavor Group of the Global Assembly of passionate health professionals promoting awareness of optimal breathing and airway health solutions for children under age 6.

She's also the pediatric Dental Chapter Leader for the AAPMD, the American Academy of Physiologic Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Lauren is a featured faculty member at the Pankey Institute's Dental Sleep Medicine program and a frequent speaker for the American Dental Association on the topic of interceptive arch development and growth guidance in the pediatric dental population.

Here is a sneak peek of this episode...

3:48 Infant Dental Health

10:14 4 Oral Health Points to Address from Birth!

14:35 Oral Health to Prevent Bed Wetting & More

20:14 Creating Oral Health Habits with Your Kids

26:57 How to Know if Your Child has Excellent Oral Health

29:05 Starting Your Child Out Right!

33:46 Moms Know Best!

To learn more about holistic dentistry and find a biologic dentist located near you, check out Dr. Carver's patient education page:

To contact Dr. Lauren, email her office at or call (413) 329-3292.

To contact Dr. Carver directly, email her at

Want to talk with someone at Dr. Carver's office? Call her practice: 413-663-7372

Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational purposes only. Information discussed is not intended for diagnosis, curing, or prevention of any disease and is not intended to replace advice given by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Before using any products mentioned or attempting methods discussed, please speak with a licensed healthcare provider. This podcast disclaims responsibility from any possible adverse reactions associated with products or methods discussed. Opinions from guests are their own, and this podcast does not condone or endorse opinions made by guests. We do not provide guarantees about the guests' qualifications or credibility. This podcast and its guests may have direct or indirect financial interests associated with products mentioned.

[00:00:00] Rachaele: Hello and welcome everyone to another episode of the Root of the Matter with Dr. Rachel Carver, where we highlight the connection of oral disease to systemic health. Today I'm really excited to have Dr. Lauren Ballinger with us Dr. Ballinger is a board certified pediatric dentist and a certified specialist in oral facial myology. 

[00:00:21] Rachaele: She practices pediatric airway focused dentistry and orthodontics in Western Mass and is the founder of Good To Grow Pediatric Dental Wellness, Airway Growth and Sleep Solutions, and the Nurture Frenectomy Center. Dr. Lauren founded the Endeavor Group of Global Assembly of passionate health professionals promoting awareness of solutions for optimal breathing and airway health for children under age 6.

[00:00:45] Rachaele: She's also the pediatric Dental chapter leader for the A A P M D, the American Academy of Physiologic Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Lauren is a featured faculty member at the Pankey Institute's Dental Sleep Medicine program, as well as a frequent speaker for the American Dental [00:01:00] Association on the topic of interceptive arch development and growth guidance in the pediatric dental population.

[00:01:05] Rachaele: She is forever grateful to her own children , Jack and Libby, who have ignited her passion and motivated her pursuit of knowledge. Thank you, Dr. Lauren, for being with us. And just a little caveat, Dr. Lauren shares that same passion for the getting at the root cause of disease as I do. And like Lauren, my own children have been my motivators as, as have my patience and my own, physical ailments.

[00:01:34] Rachaele: And I wanted Dr. Lauren on today because there's so many things that we can do for our children at birth, and I think it's really important. A lot of children aren't even getting to the dentist and still maybe four or five years old. Both Dr. Lauren and I have tried to reach out to our local pediatricians trying to create awareness that it is really important that a child sees a dentist at an early age.

[00:01:58] Rachaele: The American Dental [00:02:00] Association recommends age 1. and I know some pediatricians have thought that was crazy and scoffed at me, but even if we're not doing something at age, We have the opportunity to create a relationship, right, with the parent and the caregivers, because what we wanna do at that first visit is create comfort.

[00:02:18] Rachaele: Introduce the child to the environment, and then be able to educate the caregiver about how we can create really healthy jaws and really healthy teeth. Because ultimately, although we are dentists and we're in the, the business of kind of fixing teeth. People like Dr. Lauren and I really want to prevent, and we know that starts from the very beginning.

[00:02:40] Rachaele: So, so tell us a little bit, why it's so important that we start thinking about the growth and development jaws at birth when babies are born most of the time, with no teeth at all. So why is that important? , 

[00:02:51] Lauren: Great question. Thank you so much for having me, Rachel. Well, I think first of all, there's a big under-appreciation just for the mouth in general.

[00:02:59] Lauren: There's [00:03:00] only so many portals into our body. One being the mouth, one, the other being the nose. And what our mouth is responsible for that we take it, really take for granted, chewing, swallowing speaking tasting. It's really the gateway into our body along with our nose. And I think, like I said, we really take it for granted.

[00:03:19] Lauren: And the, what you said, Rachel, is so true. I really would like to see the job description of a dentist as moving away from fixing to moving towards preventing preventative medicine, because that's actually how dentistry started. And there was a, a big correlation of talking and collaborating and working in medicine.

[00:03:41] Lauren: Dentists used to be part of that medical branch before they separated out into their own specialty, and that's a lost connection that we have. So babies, let's talk about it. The first two things that, sometimes I ask parents this or other dentists this, or even in lectures, just a sort of little trivia question, which is, what [00:04:00] are the first two things a baby needs to do in order to stay alive when they're born. 

[00:04:05] Lauren: And I kind of let it be silent, right? And the answer is one of them is breathe, and the other one is swallow, right? You have to swallow hopefully breast milk before bottles you would have to have a good latch. But yes, you have to swallow and breathe and the body is miraculous in that it's going to do something to protect you if you can't breathe or swallow.

[00:04:29] Lauren: Right, you're gonna do a compensation. So, babies are very, and this is my experience, I don't, I didn't know then what I know now. My children are now 17 and 15, and if I had known then what I know now with my newborn son, something like a tethered oral tie or more commonly known as a tongue tie. Is the restriction of the attachment of the tongue underneath to the floor of the mouth, [00:05:00] and we all have a frenum.

[00:05:01] Lauren: A frenum is not a bad or dangerous thing. We need a frenum so it doesn't roll out of our mouth. The question is, is how flexible or how flexibly is that holding the tongue and how much is it letting it move in the proper motion in order to swallow properly so the baby can have nutrition and the newborn mom can breastfeed without pain.

[00:05:23] Lauren: There's been a lot of generational shifts between solely breastfeeding to bottle back to breastfeeding. Tongue ties are not new. They've been in the literature for hundreds of hundreds of years, but we're starting to see a resurgence of symptoms again, because more mothers are choosing to breastfeed.

[00:05:41] Lauren: So these are things that can be detected from the moment a child is born and when they're not. This is my story. My story was that I tried and tried to nurse, it wasn't working. I was in a lot of pain. I was told, no, it's fine. Just keep trying. Fast [00:06:00] forward to 48 hours later, we're back in the hospital and he's has severe dehydration.

[00:06:05] Lauren: He's even more jaundice. We're both admitted, and then that went to a year of being on acid reflux medicine. I failed breastfeeding. He had all these invasive procedures, all these things done that the root cause was that his tongue wasn't allowing him to swallow properly. And these are things that can alleviate so much hardship and heartbreak between babies and mothers if they're taken seriously and there's something done about them. And then talking about the compensations. If you get through the initial feeding period with enough compensations, this can really throw off your growth because your tongue is a very strong muscle.

[00:06:45] Lauren: It can move your, it can help form or scaffold your jaws. As if you're building a house with a really good foundation by putting pressure on your jaws and your bones when you're swallowing correctly, and to give you a [00:07:00] comparison of the amount of pressure, for instance, braces or like one bracket puts on a tooth of about two grams of force. The tongue, if it's working properly, can act like nature's expander of putting 500 grams of force in all the directions that help form a big, healthy pallet that allows your tongue to fit in your tongue has to fit in that garage. The roof of your mouth is the same bone as the floor of your nose, so the wider your mouth is, the more functional your nose is.

[00:07:27] Lauren: The opposite is true. So when these babies are born, maybe with a tongue tie a narrow palate, they're also usually very congested. We see a lot of day old, weak old babies that are very, very congested. And then this can start the habit of mouth breathing and then mouth breathing can throw off all sorts of the bodies homeostasis or balance.

[00:07:46] Lauren: And it really becomes a vicious cycle of form following function and then function following form. And, the swallowing pattern, an infant actually starts at 20 weeks in utero. Babies are already practicing swallowing amniotic fluids. So we already [00:08:00] have to unwind a pattern. And the reality is, is that humans of modern society 

[00:08:04] Lauren: we're being born with smaller oral facial structures things like sleep apnea high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes type two are all really diseases of modern man, and they all have a common connection of the shape and form and size of your jaws, which by the age of four are over 50% grown.

[00:08:27] Lauren: So this gives us a chance to really work at the highest level of preventative medicine where we identify structures or signs or symptoms and get on top of them before they get worse. 

[00:08:41] Rachaele: And I just wanna pause right there so everybody heard what she said.

[00:08:45] Rachaele: By age four we've had 50% of development. So maybe that's before the child has even seen the dentist and even had any of this education. We've already lost 50% of that growth. So as Dr. Lauren was saying, [00:09:00] breastfeeding not only, there's a lot of controversy over breastfeeding. Some mothers who can't do it, they feel like a failure.

[00:09:05] Rachaele: And this is not about judgment. We're just here to educate you about not only is breastfeeding, yes. You know you're giving the right nutrtion. But the way that the mouth latches onto the breast creates this proper form of swallowing and the tongue on the roof of the mouth. So, as Dr. Lauren said, the way that we create space, and I know in my practice as a general dentist, I'm seeing 95 plus percent of kids who don't have enough space for their teeth.

[00:09:35] Rachaele: Okay. And this, there are a lot of causes of this, and, and a lot of it has to do with modern nutrition or modern life. We're eating softer foods, however, At a young age, what I want everyone to take away is, we can improve this, we can try to prevent that ouchie bill of the $10,000 of braces, and a lot of times the braces we're only correcting the teeth.

[00:09:55] Rachaele: We are missing 90% of the problem. So I really want people to understand that. [00:10:00] Having crooked teeth or misaligned teeth is because the jaws aren't growing properly, right

[00:10:05] Rachaele: so from birth we are going to, so tell us about those four important habits that we're trying to develop at an early age to create the proper growth.

[00:10:14] Lauren: Right. 

[00:10:15] Lauren: So really the four things that we're looking for in terms of excellent form and function that don't just benefit the mouth but benefit your entire body systemically are lips closed at rest, meaning the lips aren't even parted. So this means you're breathing through your nose, your lips aren't parted at rest.

[00:10:33] Lauren: Your tongue should be tucked nicely or parked up into the roof of your palate, so they should not be touching your teeth. It should be up in your pallet. Lips closed. Breathing through your nose. The organ that we were given to filter, humidify, warm and disinfect the air and we need to be swallowing properly.

[00:10:53] Lauren: And so swallowing is something again, we take for granted because we probably are able to swallow food even if it's not [00:11:00] a functional swallow. But a follow swallow should be invisible with your lips closed without any movement of the head or neck to kind of get the food down. And this means that again, your body is in homeostasis and you are nose breathing.

[00:11:13] Lauren: You're getting better quality air. And you're allowing your tongue to be up on the roof of the pallet. So minute after minute, week after week, year after year, your tongue is actually acting as nature's best expander. So if you have any nasal congestion, any barriers, you have a poor habit, lip low tone of your tongue opening, your face is gonna start to grow more narrow and long.

[00:11:39] Lauren: And what Rachel and I are talking about, is that you can't, you do not have the opportunity to get in and switch that, correct that growth and get it going on the right track forever. The best time to really do it is to find the root causes at birth. There's always gonna be probably some issues cuz we do not live in a hermetically [00:12:00] sealed bubble, but if we can get a hold of the root causes of the function that's creating the form.

[00:12:07] Lauren: Help guide the bones back into where they should be to get them on the right direction of growth, ideally before they start getting their permanent teeth. So that's why we say six or younger by seven eight, over 85% of your jaw growth is done. Braces age is just like what Rachel said, it's decorating.

[00:12:30] Lauren: What we're talking about is structure foundation first. Teeth second. Teeth are the decorations, they're the curtains, they're the pretty things that we put around our house. The problem is, is that we need to create a house that's big enough to accommodate all of the pretty furniture we wanna put in it. And if we don't start early, we're not gonna get there.

[00:12:52] Rachaele: Absolutely. And I think, the other important thing about nasal breathing, we all know, in the last few. The general population has [00:13:00] had much more anxiety, right? Mm-hmm. . And when we breathe through our nose, we've, we're taught that at a young age, breathe through your nose, that'll calm you down.

[00:13:07] Rachaele: So the younger we can train our patients to be nose breathers. The better those child are going to be able to adapt to this very crazy, very hectic world that we live in. Yeah. And when your tongue rests on the roof of your mouth, you're also connecting the two energy paths of your body, the front side and the backside.

[00:13:26] Rachaele: So this is also affecting not just the head and neck, but your entire nervous system. 

[00:13:32] Lauren: Your entire nervous system. 

[00:13:34] Rachaele: So that's, so while we're talking about nervous system, tell me a little bit, ADHD and bedwetting and how those can be related to improper airway. 

[00:13:44] Lauren: Right. The jaws are really, if you think about 'em, they're the border.

[00:13:47] Lauren: The front of our jaws, our front face is our profile. Okay? But like our back face, so the back borders of our jaws are our posterior airway, our airway space. So, and like I said, the roof of our [00:14:00] mouth is also the floor of our nose. So, narrow pallets, small crowded mouths where teeth are crowded.

[00:14:06] Lauren: People that you see that the chin is recessed, this means that our airway is actually reduced in size. And as we're saying, the younger you are, we have the opportunity to help a child grow into a bigger airway as opposed to learn to just live with it. Like with a breathing, a air mask. So if you have smaller airways from smaller jaws, your breathing is not gonna be as efficient and it's not gonna be as functional.

[00:14:32] Lauren: So what we see with kids a lot is not the necessarily the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. We see what is called restless sleep. So, sleeping for children and for adults, but for children needs should really be silent and invisible. That means you don't hear them breathing, you don't hear them snoring.

[00:14:49] Lauren: You don't necessarily see their chest rising and falling. They're breathing quietly through their nose, and for the most part, they're in one place in the bed. Quiet and invisible and dry. Dry, [00:15:00] meaning that sweating or wetting the bed. When a child is not able to breathe well, unlike an adult that might have some other things going on where their throat actually closes and they lose some oxygen and then kind of wake themselves up, kids are, I guess you can just say that their nervous system is hyper aware of things changing.

[00:15:20] Lauren: So if they start to feel like they're not gonna breathe really well, they have a little micro arousal awakening. This can look like tossing and turning and moving around to a parent. Okay, your members sleep needs to be quiet and visible and dry. So if you see a kid moving around a lot, what this means is, is they're not allowing, or their body or their breathing is not allowing them to enter in to all the stages of sleep that you need to get in to rest, recover, grow, and also for your body to stop working on daytime activities.

[00:15:55] Lauren: That it's used to doing when it's awake and start working on nighttime activities [00:16:00] that are supposed to happen when you're asleep. One of those is, and it's wetting the bed is complicated. But one of the things that we do know is that when you're in deep sleep, you're basically sending a message and you're brain to your bladder saying, I don't need you anymore.

[00:16:14] Lauren: I'm doing other important work. You don't need to be working right now cause I'm sleeping. So we're not producing urine. You don't have to go to the bathroom. But when you're in the state of restless sleep and you're not getting into those deeper areas of sleep where the brain is like, okay, this part of our body can shut down while we work on the other parts of the body, your bladder still fills up and most of the time kids will wet the bed and it's really a sign that they are not getting, they may be sleeping eight or 10 hours a night, but they're not getting the restful recovery sleep because their bladder's working too hard.

[00:16:49] Lauren: Their heart is working too hard because they're moving around and switching around. Sleep should be restful. It should be a restful time, not a time of struggle. So your brain, [00:17:00] again, is not getting the message to stop filling your bladder. Kids will pee in their bed. Okay? The A D H D thing is really interesting because in kids, Somewhere between 75 to 78% of children that have an A D D or ADHD diagnosis actually have a restless sleep or a poor quality of sleep issue going on.

[00:17:23] Lauren: So I'm not saying that restless sleep is going to cure the ADHD epidemic, but what I'm saying is, is that before you just throw a label on and a medicine on it, figure out what's going. I always ask parents, how do you feel when you do not rest well or get a good night's sleep? Okay? We feel cranky. We're not focused.

[00:17:48] Lauren: We are less regulated. We might seem impulsive. We might seem spacey. We might seem like a whole bunch of these things that we see in [00:18:00] sleepy kids that look like adhd, and it really is because again, their brain is not able to get into the rest and recovery. Place that it needs to. And these kids are hyper revved up, short nerved, short temper, short attention span.

[00:18:15] Lauren: A lot of kids are hyperactive because where adults are just like, Hey, I just wanna take a nap. We all know kids. What are they, what are they like when they miss their nap or they're up an hour later? They're insane and I think it's because, they're afraid of missing something or whatever

[00:18:32] Lauren: they're overcompensating. But we really need to look at the sleep quality that these kids are getting and understand that dentistry has such a big role to play in that, that remove so many of the Band-aid options that we have available because we cannot get to the root cause unless we're getting to the root cause of jaw development

[00:18:54] Lauren: and oral function, and this is where Dentist's expertise lay. 

[00:18:59] Rachaele: And I [00:19:00] think that's, that's so important. I You just making me think of my younger daughter, Ruby, she used to. Come into my bed every night middle of the night and I didn't mind so much cuz she'd rub my back and it was very nice.

[00:19:10] Rachaele: Right. And until I went to a sleep apnea lecture on adult and I thought, oh my gosh, I wonder if, and, and Dr. Lauren has, has treated my daughters and my younger daughter had the smallest jaw and she was always very tiny. She was in the, not that I'm a huge person, but she was always in like the five or 10th percentile for height and.

[00:19:27] Rachaele: She got expanded. She's has still wearing her mile brace and mm-hmm. , it's amazing. Like she caught right up. I, in a matter of months, her great. Right. She slept through the night, she's learning, could breathe through her nose. So, and she was, she was like the energizer bunny.

[00:19:43] Rachaele: My goodness. That kid, when she was overtired, she'd be running around nuts and again, so if you were a parent. 

[00:19:49] Lauren: And like we've lived through it. 

[00:19:51] Rachaele: Right. And the pediatricians, though they may not be as aware of this connection. So again, this is part of the reason we're doing this podcast [00:20:00] is, is to create this awareness.

[00:20:01] Rachaele: If you have your own children or nieces or nephews or grandchildren, That you seek out a pediatric dentist who has, has educated in this airway piece because it can be as simple as giving the child a little device that they, they wear at night having a few exercise. And the younger, trust me, the kids of teenagers, , the younger you get the children into these habits, the easier it will be.

[00:20:26] Rachaele: It just becomes part of the routine of brushing and flossing. 

[00:20:30] Lauren: Right, and one of the things we can start saying is parents that's very simple with our own children is just like we're teaching them to say please or thank you or sitting up straight. Sitting up straight is a big part of it

[00:20:41] Lauren: we are all starting to hunch over, with our, with our it lives. But just like we ask kids to sit up straight, just like we ask them to say please or thank you, cueing them from birth of, oh, lips should be closed, up tongue on the roof of your. You breathe with your nose, you eat with [00:21:00] your mouth.

[00:21:00] Lauren: These little cues. On top of that though, we have to be aware of our own. Oral rest posture because babies cue off the adults, especially their parents they see, and they will start mimicking us if our lips are open, if we're not breathing throughout through our nose. And then that can also open up a whole can of worms.

[00:21:17] Lauren: Like, well, why can't I, why am I struggling with this? But yes, reinforcing these little, Hey, in preschool, everyone knows, crisscross apple. Put a bubble in your mouth. Whenever these little things are teaching our kids the basics of nose breathing, tongue of the roof, your mouth, lips closed and swallowing without using your lips or body, that's a little bit more advanced, but just the lips breathing your nose, tongue up on the palate.

[00:21:43] Lauren: They're just things that we can start queuing so, so early. . Yeah. 

[00:21:48] Rachaele: And what about nutrition? I, I'm always concerned with, I, mean, as a parent, we live crazy busy lives and we love convenience and in the last decade we've got all these squeeze packs. So why is having something that's [00:22:00] doing that, why is that detrimental for our one and two year olds?

[00:22:04] Lauren: Okay, so I talked about the tongue having wonderful growth potential, the lips and cheeks can either be our helpers or our holder backers. Okay? So when we're puckering our lips and sucking like this, this is creating again, I just said, for example, braces to move a tooth is two grams of force. If we're really sucking hard, like to pull some pureed food through a little squeeze bag, okay, we are creating anywhere from two to 400 grams of force.

[00:22:40] Lauren: Retraction of pulling those bones back of our face. So think of like somebody that has a nice profile, a nice neckline, versus somebody that you know, looks like they have a flatter face or sort of like a recessed chin. So every time you're doing that with your muscles, you're sending your bone a message to not grow forward, but to start [00:23:00] retracting.

[00:23:01] Lauren: Okay? So these habits matter over time. That's why even the best dentist's like Rachel, the best pediatric dentist, the best orthodontist. We can all put jaws, make them wider when they're growing, or put teeth into a position and make them look beautiful. , but they will relapse if you do not train your muscles around them.

[00:23:23] Lauren: And this is why we see adults like, I don't understand. I'm on my third round of Invisalign and my teeth still keep crowding up. Well, unless you're gonna wear a lifetime retainer, your muscles are pushing them incorrectly because you haven't learned proper muscle movement and they're making your teeth move while you're growing

[00:23:41] Lauren: they're prohibiting or helping growth depending on what you're doing. Nutrition in terms of chewing. It's not just that we're sucking through the bag, it's that we are not as a culture anymore, having to chew. I am not. It is really hard. I have not mastered it. I certainly [00:24:00] did master it when I was raising my babies.

[00:24:02] Lauren: Yes I did organics and everything, but it was soft. It dissolved in your mouth. What we have to understand is when kids are grow, In order for bones to grow and be strong, we need load-bearing exercise. We've all heard this, we need for bone health to do things, or we're putting weight on our bones.

[00:24:21] Lauren: Our jaws are no different if we are not chewing that with them, we are not developing bone, we're not growing bone, we're not getting nice wide faces. In fact, a lot of Periodontists, gum and bone doctors, that just do this are are getting into airway because they're starting to notice on their very young patients that they have no bone around their teeth and they don't have periodontal disease.

[00:24:47] Lauren: Right. They're not it, it's affecting the way our bones are just growing into these thick, beautiful, hearty jaws because we are not using them, we have to get our kids to start chewing real [00:25:00] food and also understanding that choking and coughing is the side of a neurologically intact child. It's your body's protection.

[00:25:10] Lauren: to teach you what you can or can't explore. So I'm not advocating that we should leave, our children unattended with like ribs or celery, or whatever. But we've got to let them challenge themselves a little bit more in terms of chewing and learning new textures to manipulate around their mouth so that their jaws can grow and that your teeth can stay healthy and stable and bone and we're completely missing.

[00:25:36] Rachaele: Absolutely. So, such a big piece. And I, I will have to say in my practice again, that 95% of kids are not growing forward. That is the biggest issue, is the upper jaw is not growing forward. Yeah. So it's very common for people to have, crowded teeth, crooked lower teeth. And that is because the upper jaw is restricted and the lower jaw can only go.

[00:25:57] Rachaele: As far as the upper, so we need to [00:26:00] none that jaw. And, and as Dr. Lauren has said multiple times, it is the tongue right that is pushing and creating that wideness of the palette. So that then the lower jaw can come forward. So a lot of times in, in ortho we're traditionally, we're always, worried about the mandible, the mandible, the mandible, the mandible.

[00:26:20] Rachaele: But we need to move the maxilla. And as Lauren said, by seven, eight years old, we've already had 80% of development. So it is so, so important. We need to change the whole paradigm of, straight teeth and braces. We need to create, as she said, the foundation. We need to create the foundation.

[00:26:37] Rachaele: When we start early, we create that good foundation. We create those good habits. The teeth will naturally come in straight. 

[00:26:43] Lauren: We may need a aesthetic touch up, right? But the fact that we got the teeth to come in to the jaws in the space that they were supposed to be.

[00:26:54] Lauren: Right. How it used to be for millennia. Up until, industrialized [00:27:00] and the agricultural revolution came in, this is what happened. Okay. I think what a lot of people are getting comfortable with is that what's commonly seen. They're also saying it's normal. and that's not true. The other thing that I can't stand, that you brought up, if you hear, and this is what really triggered me as a mom from respected professionals, and I'm really trying to not blame anybody.

[00:27:24] Lauren: I'm just trying to, put it on they just haven't learned it or it hasn't become impactful for them yet, but hearing something like your, about your child, like it's not that bad to me, doesn't sit well because to me that means it's not that good either. And for a child to be denied access to, just because we're putting a blind eye to it of not having optimal growth and function and being able to thrive is really a shame

[00:27:55] Lauren: if people are just brushing that under the carpet. I think the best way that I've gotten [00:28:00] people to think about it is in terms of growth or two things, cuz we keep hearing dental, we keep thinking teeth, we keep thinking straight teeth. This has to be for aesthetics. It is so much bigger than that.

[00:28:11] Lauren: It is would be the same as if your child, and we see them all the time. If we don't know someone, we see 'em on social media. Kids that need glasses or hearing aids and they get these at a very young age. . Would we ever tell a family that if their child had a eye problem with seeing that we were gonna watch and wait before we gave them corrective lenses?

[00:28:36] Lauren: Let's see how they do. Let's wait for it to get worse. Let's send 'em to school and see how poorly they do. Cuz they can't see. Okay. Or nobody will ask, oh, if my baby gets glasses at 12 months, is that the only set they're gonna need? No, there's gonna be a journey to help them grow outta their problem [00:29:00] and into health with a series of interventions because it's growth focused denying seeing a symptom of a child of not thriving to say, let's wait and watch, just is not fair to that child.

[00:29:13] Lauren: And if you put it in the same level, hearing or sight or even scoliosis. All of our children are screened for scoliosis to make sure your bones are growing correctly. And if they're not, they're basically put in a brace, which is a growth guidance, way to help your bones grow correctly.

[00:29:34] Lauren: Noticing deficiency in jaw growth in the jaws is not an accusation, it's a reality. And we can. Put them in a device to help those bones grow correctly. Aesthetics are a separate animal than what we're talking about, but we also know that things that are healthy are also beautiful, in nature. Anything that's beautiful, it's symmetrical and in it's beautiful and it's [00:30:00] healthy and it's thriving and that goes for our face and our teeth too.

[00:30:03] Lauren: Wellness usually is attractive because, that's, that's how it's meant to be.

[00:30:09] Rachaele: So you mentioned a couple things. So what are some other signs? We know that, if, if the mouth is hanging up, I know learning what I've learned now, and I go back and I look at my kids' infant pictures, all of them have their mouth open.

[00:30:20] Rachaele: I'm like, ah, geez, no wonder. So, but what about things like we've talked about maybe bedwetting, maybe adhd, could be, a symptom. What about like large tonsils or dark circles under their eyes? We see a lot of kids today with those dark circles who look tired, 

[00:30:35] Lauren: well, they look like they have a cold all the time.

[00:30:38] Lauren: That's how I describe it. So like when I take pictures, like when we take treatment pictures at the start, and then we take progress pictures and final pictures, what you really see, sort of like what you see the difference of is these kids when they start look like they are under the weather or have a cold.

[00:30:55] Lauren: Or like, or having an allergy attack or like they didn't sleep well. The problem is, is they [00:31:00] look like that every day. And it's so common that we're not really picking our own children out of the crowd because so many kids are looking like this, right? So they just don't look really well. I think what's important with early treatment diagnosis is to separate the signs and the symptoms.

[00:31:17] Lauren: And I've learned this because you can have a lot of sign. That put you at risk for some of the things that Rachel and I are talking about, like restless sleep, snoring, adhd, bedwetting frequently getting sick, you can be already having those symptoms or you can just, somebody like Rachel and I can see the risk factors based on the way your primary, your baby teeth look and the way your jaw looks and what you're doing with your mouth that predispose you to that.

[00:31:47] Lauren: And that's an important distinction because you don't need to wait until symptoms occur. Ideally, you find the risk factors that put them there. And the risk factors are narrow jaws, baby teeth that don't have any [00:32:00] space or have a little crowding. Okay? Baby teeth should have like big wide gaps between them.

[00:32:05] Lauren: The jaw shouldn't look vaulted. The teeth should have some spacing. The lips should be able to be closed. There shouldn't be any chopping of the lips. You shouldn't see dark circles. These are signs that you wanna see, you shouldn't see across by the symptoms that come from this, that parents should be aware of.

[00:32:22] Lauren: Is snoring more than twice a week on a regular basis is abnormal. There is nothing normal about snoring unless you have a head cold and it comes and it goes snoring alone in children. And this is where unfortunately, the pediatricians haven't caught up yet, is proven to cause neurocognitive damage.

[00:32:44] Lauren: Sometimes irreversible just snoring, and that is a sign that something is wrong. So snoring, restless, sleep. Like I said, sleeping should be invisible, quiet, dry. Kids [00:33:00] after having a decent night's sleep should be fresh. They're kids. They should have the most energy they've ever had in the world.

[00:33:08] Lauren: When you're young, if you get a good eight to 10 hours of sleep, a restful sleep. If you're sleeping and breathing well, you should be ready to jump out of bed and take on the day. Kids that are still tired, having a hard time going, have a dry mouth in the morning have frequently chapped lips. This means that they're hanging their mouth open, they're licking their lips crusty noses, chronically congested.

[00:33:30] Lauren: These are all symptoms okay, that are going along with the signs. So we're looking for signs and symptom. What's hard about it is unfortunately, almost every child looks like this right now. So, the other thing I say is to believe into your parental gut. Parents really know what's going on with their children, especially moms.

[00:33:50] Lauren: Nothing against dads, but that maternal sort of barometer instinct. . And if you feel, I cannot tell you how many times I've spoken to parents moms about [00:34:00] this, that something is just off or not right, and you keep on hearing No, it's fine. It's fine, it's fine. Or you're overreacting or you're crazy. Keep searching because there's something there that you just know to be true, and you're usually right.

[00:34:15] Rachaele: That's a very, very important point. And again, wanna reiterate what, what Lauren was saying, how just because things are common doesn't make them normal, girls today, they're getting their periods at age 11. It's very common, but that is not normal, and, and obviously that's a, that's a big topic, and, and never, ever go against your gut feeling.

[00:34:33] Rachaele: Oftentimes a patient will come to me and, and. I can't figure out exactly what's wrong, and I'll ask them, what do you think is wrong? Right? Nobody knows your body or knows you know your child like you. And just because we may be a doctor and we have all these letters after our name, we are not the expert on your body.

[00:34:50] Rachaele: So don't ever let anyone tell you that you're crazy or there's nothing there. Yeah, because even sometimes when I'm, I'm not sure what's going on. I don't [00:35:00] negate that there is something happening, and, maybe they have to come back again and we, we talk a lot about, the energy and stuff like that.

[00:35:06] Rachaele: But don't ever, that's really, really important. As moms, we want the very, very best for our children. And, if you're not getting the answer somewhere, just, just keep, and, and it's tricky because not many dentists very tricky. We certainly don't learn any of this in dental school, right?

[00:35:21] Rachaele: So it's, it's people like Dr. Laura and I that we have our own experience as moms. We want to help our own children or ourselves. And so we've, started learning more and we're just very curious and we want to know. We can sit and drill and fill all day long, but we are really passionate about getting at that route and passionate about sharing this with all of you so that we can create more awareness, so that we can create more questions and the more that we as patients question our doctors, our dentists, We will create that awareness and it will force our profession to, to learn more hopefully.

[00:35:58] Rachaele: Right. That is, that is our goal. Yes. [00:36:00] Is that we want to share this knowledge and make this a common, a common thing. This dentist really should be part of internal medicine. We have so much, we have much more face time with our patients. We have that opportunity. Yeah. We're seeing patients more frequently.

[00:36:15] Rachaele: We really have that opportunity to develop these relationships. We hope that, that you as parents, just create, keep having that conversation and the right, doctors and dentists, they're gonna be curious and there's a lot of information out there. 

[00:36:30] Lauren: Yeah, it's hard. One of the hardest parts about this transformation for us professionally, I think is to get comfortable with not always having the answer, not always having a simple fix.

[00:36:42] Lauren: Being able to, being able to come up with, I think a lot of us as healthcare providers, and I think especially as dentists, as perfectionists, we are taught to have the answer and have it be the perfect answer all the time. And the reality is, is that the human body is [00:37:00] a beautiful enigma.

[00:37:01] Lauren: We know so much, but there's so much we don't know. And hey, guess what? It is, the sort of blooming of specialized medicine of dentists and physicians. Having a specialized part of the body that they're experts in is lovely in some ways, but then it took away everyone talking about it and looking at a certain organ or a certain specialty or expertise as a

[00:37:28] Lauren: small part of a bigger whole. So nothing in the body works or doesn't work without affecting everything else. And the mouth, I we, Rachel, we can talk about, early intervention, but the reality is, is there, I can't think of one disease. It doesn't have some symptom in the mouth. It is all connected.

[00:37:50] Lauren: And that Right, that means that so. . So this is what we're talking a lot about. I don't know if you read this, this either. It's of healthspan [00:38:00] versus lifespan. So in many ways our lifespan is increasing because we have so many interventions, and I'm talking about band-aid type stuff. Medications surgeries, CPAP mask, breathing mask.

[00:38:13] Lauren: Okay. But so our health, our lifespan may be increasing, but our healthspan is decreasing. And what that means is, is the amount of time that we're alive on earth, the quality of our health. So we may start in our fifties taking 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 medications, prescription medications to keep us going. Okay. Where, decades ago it might not have been until your seventies or eighties, it's cuz we're getting sicker.

[00:38:45] Lauren: And we're putting band-aids on it to help us live better, but the quality of our life is not great. And that's what's so wonderful to have an opportunity if you come into contact with somebody like Rachel or I to say, [00:39:00] we can help your child grow into their health potential as opposed to watching them kind of grow into their dysfunction and their disease.

[00:39:12] Lauren: I just think it's so obvious. Anyone would agree that a young child in your young life, you should be as vital and as thriving as most as you can at these ages. And if there's something holding you back that's really easily screened for and fixed, why are we not doing it? Why are we withholding reading glasses?

[00:39:31] Lauren: I don't understand. Yeah, it's very simple. There really shouldn't be any controversy over it because it's actually. Preventative in nature and cost everybody less money. And I think that's another reason why it's not promoted. Prevention doesn't make much money for anybody. And it requires time and thought and thinking and talking to your patients.

[00:39:53] Lauren: It's a whole different kind of healthcare model. 

[00:39:56] Rachaele: It is. Yes. But, and I think that's why I love appealing to [00:40:00] moms because our, what we, we want so much, for our children and, and when we can give it to them at, at an early age, we are setting them up for this elongated, health span. And, and it's so important and, and it does take a little extra time in work and.

[00:40:16] Rachaele: Problematic in our society today. We want the quick fix, but it's, that's, that's really not the answer. So there are a lot of great interventions out there. But we've learned some really, really important stuff and I think that the major takeaways.

[00:40:30] Rachaele: Are that we need to have that intervention before age six ideally. Right. Yeah. And it's not to say, I I've expanded adults mine in their forties, so it is possible, but it's a lot more challenging. A lot more challenging. 

[00:40:42] Lauren: So how many nights have gone by? By the time you're 40? Yeah. When you're not performing at your best.

[00:40:47] Rachaele: Exactly 

[00:40:48] Lauren: right. And we just want to set our kids up for not having to work so hard. Right. To just not have to struggle. The earlier we can do that, the better. 

[00:40:58] Rachaele: So, and again, so [00:41:00] if you have a child who's already eight or nine or 10, it's not impossible. We can still make the progress so, it's more challenging.

[00:41:07] Rachaele: But there is a lot of hope and there are more and more people who understand this and we can do this. So, Lauren, tell us a little bit more. If people have more questions, how can they reach you? 

[00:41:20] Lauren: Yeah, the best way to reach me would actually be through my practice email, which is

[00:41:25] Lauren: It's We can certainly call the office at (413) 329-3292. But yeah, we're here for a resource anytime and all the time and hey, who knew that Berkshire County had two, two of us in it? We're lucky Berkshire County, if you're listening, because I'm sure Rachel does as well.

[00:41:49] Lauren: We have patients that travel many, many hours to see us because there just aren't as many people as we would like doing this. Hopefully that'll change. But [00:42:00] you are right Rachel. It's the moms that are going to drive and demand the change. It's not us , it's being their cheerleaders. Yeah. And this is how we got in it as moms.

[00:42:10] Lauren: Exactly. Wanting something more better, not status quo. 

[00:42:14] Rachaele: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, Lauren, I'm definitely gonna have to have you on again cause I know we could talk about a lot more stuff. But I really appreciate your time today. Thank you all for listening and I hope you all learn something and help us spread the word.

[00:42:28] Lauren: It was a pleasure. Anytime. 

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