Beyond the teeth
As an adult, your dental problems are limited to your mouth. A gum disease or tooth problem affects your mouth and jaws, sometimes your lips. But when you’re a newborn, the indicators are not so straightforward.
It is true that newborns don’t have teeth, so how would they have periodontal problems? In newborns, the non-existent teeth aren’t indicators of dental health, it is the skull.
Numerous studies over the years have found strong links between the formation and development of the skull of a newborn and his/her oral health. All the research and study conclude that a baby’s skull can be a good way to predict or gauge the dental health in the future.
Getting to know your newborn’s head
When you have a newborn in the household, the stakes are raised. You start babyproofing the house and all your energy goes into making sure the baby is always safe. One of the sensitive spots of a baby is its head. It is soft and underdeveloped. With open cranial structures and soft bones, you need to be extra careful.
The not fully formed skull goes into the not fully formed jaws. The jaws are just mere shells that start forming somewhere between 6 to 9 months. A newborn’s first teeth grow when they are 3-6 months old.
It is important to know the number of bones in the skull of a baby. There are 2 frontal, 2 sides or parietal and 1 back or occipital bone.
The shape of your baby’s head has a lot to do with the process of birth. A normal delivery or a vaginal delivery is ideal for a child as this is the way it is meant to be. It also helps in shaping the head the right way while the baby is being pushed out of the womb.
The complications occur when there is a C-section or a traumatic delivery process that directly affects the baby. Some traumatic births include:
- Premature birth of the baby
- When the umbilical cord is coiled around the baby’s neck
- Long hours of delivery
- Emergency caesarean
These could affect the skull formation, skull developments, jaw formation, posture and cranial balance of the child. If you take a minute to think about it, braces are used to align teeth and jaws that didn’t form properly due to traumatic birthing process.
The concept of flathead and torticollis
Newborns usually have pointy heads the first few days after their birth. After that, the head takes its rightful shape. But when the head remains flat and does not grow properly, it could be flat head syndrome where the growth of the skull is asymmetrical. Torticollis on the other hand, is a condition where the neck is twisted. This could be a result of abnormal birth positions where the head doesn’t exit the birth canal first. This condition could also affect the dental structure of the baby.
If your baby is sleeping with his/her head tilted backwards or sideways or if one eye is smaller than the other, or he/she has a folded ear – these are red flags for cranial and spinal imbalance.
It is important to know the signs and approach an expert!
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