The Highlights: Baby Oral Development & Breathing

The Highlights: Baby Oral Development & Breathing

At today's Coffee & Convos, Dr. Michelle Lee came to speak on baby oral development and how it affects breathing.

Michelle is a Dentist at Apollonia Dental Clinic in Edmonton, Canada. She specializes in sleep-disordered breathing and kids.

If you missed out on her talk, here are a few highlights from her talk. 

Michelle talked about craniosacral development and brought in a skull to show moms. She spoke about how tongue ties and how the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body!

Suckling VS. Sucking

When it comes to suckling vs. sucking, suckling is when the nipple goes further back and the tongue pushes up. The squeezing and compression causes the palate to squish and the palate narrows. For littles who use pacifiers or are thumb suckers, this can cause a high, narrow palate. A wider palate is better in mouths.

Sleep Apnea

Michelle touched on sleep apnea, which is when kids stop breathing in their sleep. The low oxygen can cause children to not develop as well because they grow in their sleep.

What causes sleep apnea? It could be the blockage of airways including from tonsils. Children's tonsil can be enlarged from allergies. The symptoms of children's allergies can look very different from adults. If necessary, tonsil adenoids may need to be removed.

Mouthbreathing can occur during the day if it's happening at night. During the day, remind your kids to close their mouths. They may find their mouth is dry when they wake in the morning.

Breathing issues can also cause bed wetting. There's also a link to ADHD. Children are more likely to develop attention issues if they're not sleeping well.

What To Look For

As a mom, what should you be looking for? When should you consider seeing someone?

When your baby isn't latching during breastfeeding. They might have a tongue tie, but not all tongue ties are issues. Sometimes tongue exercises may help.

First Dental Visit

When should my baby have their first dental visit?

Baby should have their first dental visit by their first birthday. Usually, they're sitting in your lap and the dentist will have a quick look in the mouth. Babies should continue dental visits every 6 months. 

How do I care for baby's gums and teeth?

Use a damp, clean washcloth to wipe their gums. You can use this even when their first teeth are coming in and you can't get toothbrush in. After that, you can transition to a small toothbrush.

Does my baby need toothpaste?

Talk to your dental healthcare professional. Michelle recommends using a fluoride toothpaste once they are able to spit out. For her own child, she uses a xylitol based toothpaste from Spry. Xylitol is known to help prevent cavities.

Thank you so much Michelle for coming to speak at our moms group!

Dr. Michelle Lee

Apollonia Dental Clinic

1936 - 38 Avenue

Edmonton, AB


Please note, we recommend you speak to your healthcare professional for what is best for you and your baby.

Learn more about our Coffee & Convos moms group

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