The effects of diet on children’s jaw development

Effects of diet on children's jaw development and brain development

We want our children to be smarter, better-performing versions of ourselves, yes? The effects of a poor diet through childhood has been shown to not only negatively affect children’s jaw development, but also to reduce brain size and brain development! At FirstBite Dental, our holistic dentistry approach means that our dental team will assess your child’s jaw size at their regular appointments. If a team member thinks it’s appropriate, they may suggest an appointment with an allied health practitioner such as a dietitian to assess dietary intake so as to improve jaw and brain development.

Dr Terry Wahls, an eminent American medical doctor, has studied jaw development in children and found that children need a proper balance of omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils, processed food, grain-fed red meat) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in wild fish, game and grass-fed red meat). In short, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to healthy jaw development. Watching the video below can provide you with more information in this area.

Making sure your child eats a diet rich in these foods could reduce the likelihood of them needing dental procedures such as extractions and orthodontic treatments. We recommend speaking with us as your child grows, to examine your child’s jaw for crowding and other dental presentations.

Remember we said that jaw development and brain size are linked? At birth, a baby’s brain size is approximately 375g in size, growing and developing over the next two decades to reach an average adult size of between 1300-1400g. In 2005, studies from the University of Pennsylvania showed a fine balance between an optimally-developed jaw and brain size. 

As larger brain size tends to indicate higher intelligence, get those kids munching on their leafy greens and lean red meats!