How to prevent TMD in children?

Photo by Fanny Renaud on Unsplash

Much emphasis has been given so far to the causes of TMD within this blog. But how can you prevent your boy or girl from developing jaw joint problems? First, damage done cannot be easily reversed without a lot of time, effort and money. Therefore, the following suggestions based on research and experience are much easier and cheaper to follow than any kind of medical treatment.

TMD has often to do with the birth process. In the past, women gave birth squatting instead of lying on their backs, as this is the natural way that puts the right amounts of pressure on the baby’s skull in the right spots for healthy development. A caesarean (C-section) birth should be avoided as much as possible as they do not provide the necessary pressure and it also does not give the child the needed microbiome from passing through the intended birth channel.

The next thing is, breast-feed! Do it as long as possible, ideally for the first two, or even better, three years of lifetime. The mammal’s nipples allows for tongue training. Correct tongue posture is crucial for adequate jaw development. Avoid spoon-feeding with mushes or porridges, as this will alter your baby’s pattern of using their tongues. Instead, give them pieces of hard food to hold on to, and to suck and chew on under supervision, allowing them to strengthen their teething jaws and learn how to properly swallow.

Next, make sure your child grows up in a natural environment with good surrounding materials. This includes housing. Wall paints, heating systems, climate controls, plastics or carpets leaking chemical fumes may induce subdued allergies in your child, causing noses to clog and mouth breathing, which in turn will alter tongue posture even more, and give malocclusion. If your child has become a mouth breather, look for getting myofunctional therapy for him or her. This is much superior to orthodontic treatment later. If tongue training is not enough there are ways of early intervention with appliances addressing the root cause. Please ask us what we would suggest.

Even in cases of given malocclusions, please refrain from braces, such as the common railroad tracks or aligners. These do not address the root cause, and might induce further harm. Please do not have teeth, such as wisdom teeth, removed. They are not unnecessary teeth. Blatantly wrong is the extraction of premolar teeth in preparation for orthodontic treatment. This is now common knowledge, yet extraction and retraction orthodonistry with elastics between jaws is still being done. We suggest to you not do that. It is better to accept the looks of crooked teeth than to do that. Having crooked teeth is far better than to have fake camouflage straight-looking teeth, but developing TMD due to treatment.

Please also consider improving your child’s lifestyle towards a more natural upbringing. Avoid prefabricated soft foods. Give your child enough time to play outdoors with their friends in nature. Don’t stress your child. Let your child be a child and develop freely with less pressure. Nowadays there are already enough burdens coming from school and high expectations on the shoulders of our children. If you want to know more about how to prevent TMD in your child or if you have specific questions, contact us for further information.

(c), 2022