This book takes a head-on look at the cause of dental disease and illustrates a proactive approach that any one can take to prevent or treat common dental problems. The book features in depth chapters on proper cleaning techniques, different options on how to treat existing problems (including what types of fillings are best for your health), and the potential dangers of fluoride.
In light of the fact that we have no dental insurance and, even if we did, the coverage is not exactly comprehensive, I have a vested interest in keeping the teeth in this house as healthy as possible! Luckily, this book is telling me that "...for the last 20 years it has been theoretically possible to raise a child free from tooth decay." Whew!
Dr. Kennedy recommends a 3-step approach when considering a child's dental health.
- Nutrition. Everyone knows by now to avoid sugar and brush after meals, etc. The importance of calcium is common knowledge. But this book goes one step further and points out that inadequate nutrition during the developmental years can adversely affect the jaw, leading to overcrowded teeth and narrow dental arches. There are some truly shocking photos of indigenous peoples in and out of contact with white civilization. The teeth of societies untouched by modern, processed foods are beautiful!
- Proper brushing/antibacterial. Dr. Kennedy recommends that germs are removed using baking soda (or a similar antibacterial agent). He points out that until the age of 8 children are not likely to have the dexterity required to properly brush their teeth and require adult assistance using an electronic toothbrush. He goes into detail about what types of toothpastes are most beneficial and the results may surprise you!
- Lastly, he illustrates the importance of applying a sealant to the permanent molars, which erupt at ages 6, 12, and 18. Sealing these teeth can prevent a majority of decay in the molars and keep kids from having to get drillings and fillings. Dr. Kennedy considers this the most crucial step in long term dental health in children.
"By age 17, eighty-four percent of youth have at least one cavity. However, it is no surprise to learn that only 20% of the children have 60% of the problems. Once the tooth is filled it will need to be refilled over and over throughout adult life. Prevention is priceless. If you can raise your children past the age of 20 without significant decay they will spend far less money on their teeth over their lifetime."