Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why We're NOT Using Conventional Braces

This post is the second in a series about alternatives to conventional orthodontics. 

My 7-year-old daughter needs orthodontics The conventional approach would be to wait until she
gets older, then use braces to straighten her teeth. Some orthodontists would even recommend extracting some of her teeth to make space for the remaining teeth to be straightened.


Problems with Braces

The main reasons why we are not starting with braces are:
  • Braces do not work in the long term. My husband had braces as an adolescent. At the end of using braces, his teeth were straight. However, now as an adult, his teeth are slowly moving back to their original positions. So the braces made them look better for a time, but in the end they are reverting back to being crooked. This is a well-known phenomena, known as orthodontic relapse.  Nowadays it is a common recommendation that retainers need to be used for the rest of life after braces, to prevent relapse of the teeth into their original positions.
  • Braces do not go to the root of the problem, which is that the jaw is not large enough to accommodate the teeth. Rather, braces just seek to straighten the teeth to make them look better. When there is not enough room for all of the teeth, perfectly sound teeth are often removed prior to the installation of the braces. I want my daughter to be able to keep all of her teeth!
  • With braces, we would need to wait until my daughter was nearly done growing to get started. That means that we would have missed out on many opportunities for jaw growth.  


Thinking Beyond Just Straight Teeth

Yes, straight teeth look better than crooked teeth, but there is a larger goal than just having straight teeth. Years ago, when I read Weston A. Price's monumental book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, one of the cases that made a huge impression on me was the story of a sixteen-year-old boy who had Down's Syndrome (which was referred to as being mongoloid during Price's time).

"This boy at the age of sixteen was infantile in many of his characteristics and developments... he had a mentality of about four years... He played on the floor with blocks and with rattles like a child. ... I determined to widen his arch by moving the maxillary bones apart about one-half inch. The position of his teeth before the moving of the bones is shown in Fig. 126.
"...With the movement of the maxillary bones laterally, as shown progressively in Fig. 126, there was a very great change in his physical development and mentality. He grew three inches in about four months. His moustache started to grow immediately; and in twelve weeks' time the genitals developed from those of a child to those of a man, and with it a sense of modesty. His mental change was even more marked.... In a few weeks' time he passed through stages that usually take several years. At first, he got behind the door to frighten us; later, he put bent pins on chairs to see us jump when we sat down, and finally he became the cause of a policeman's coming to the office from where he was conducting traffic on the corner below to find who it was squirting water on him when his back was turned. He developed a great fondness for calling people over the telephone, wanted to borrow my automobile to take his mother for a drive, and with his arm caressingly about the shoulders of one of the secretaries, invited her to go with him to a dance. All this change developed in about twelve weeks.   

FIG. 125. These views show physical changes in the mongoloid type due to movement of maxillary bones to stimulate the pituitary gland in base of brain. Left, front and side view before, center, front and side view in thirty days. Right, front and side view six months after. Aged sixteen, infantile before, adolescent after operation. (Image from Project Gutenberg)

 "A most remarkable event happened in connection with this procedure. He lived in another city, and so, while with me, stayed in a boarding house at a little distance from my office in order that he might have frequent, and almost constant attention. On his return to his home town, his efficiency had increased to such an extent that his mother could send him with the money to the grocery store with the order for the day's groceries, and he could bring back the right change and could tell when it was correct. He could also come alone to me ninety miles by railroad and make two changes of trains and the various transfers on the street cars of the city with accuracy and safety."

FIG. 126. These x-ray pictures show the position of the teeth before operation to move maxillary bones; and progessively, by the dates shown, the widening of the upper arch.... The space was retained with a fixed bridge carrying two additional teeth. (Image from Project Gutenberg)

This case illustrates that the size of the jaw can have a very large effect on the brain.  Because I had read Weston Price's book previously, when I noticed that my daughter's baby teeth were crowded, I knew that I wanted to find a way to help her jaw grow larger.

While my daughter does not show any signs of delayed development, I certainly want to give her every opportunity to grow into her fullest potential. So rather than using braces to just straighten her teeth, I would much rather that my daughter's upper and lower jaw actually grow larger to accommodate her teeth. 

In the next post of this series, I will discuss alternatives to braces that work by encouraging the jaw to grow to make room for the teeth.

Did your teeth experience orthodontic relapse after braces? Have you read Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fresh Fruit Crumble (gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

Crispy and sweet on top, warm and juicy underneath: fresh fruit crumble is a great way to make the most of seasonal fruits. I prefer to make fruit crumbles instead of pies most of the time, as crumbles are so much easier to put together. With just a few little tweaks, the same recipe can be used for a variety of different fruits.

Fresh Fruit Crumble
Serves 6-8
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows) or Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
  1. One trick to making a crispy crumble topping is to make sure that the butter stays cold.  Keep the butter in the fridge until just before you are going to use it.
  2. Combine all fruit filling ingredients except for the fruit, and stir until well-mixed.
  3. Add the fruit into the mixture and stir to combine. 
  4. Grease an 8X8 square glass baking dish with a bit of butter.  Pour in the fruit filling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Chop the cold butter into approximately 1/2-inch cubes.  Place the chopped butter in the fridge to stay cold while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Combine the remaining crumble topping ingredients in a medium-large bowl and stir to combine.
  8. Add the chopped butter to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until there is a uniform, crumbly consistency. Note: a food processor does not work very well for this recipe, so use a pastry cutter or two knives instead.
  9. Spread the crumble topping evenly over the fruit in the baking dish.
  10. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling nicely and the topping has reached a medium brown color.
  11. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  12. Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream are fantastic served alongside warm fruit crumble.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups raw cream
  • pinch of fine ground celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp organic or homemade vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tb raw mild-flavored honey, to taste*
  1. Beat the cream and salt together until the mixture starts to get thick and fluffy.  I like to use my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the wire whip attachment, but you could also use a hand mixer.
  2. Add the vanilla extract, and drizzle in the honey while the mixer is running.  Alternatively, you could drizzle in the honey a little at a time and mix between each honey addition. 
  3. If you're using a stand mixer, use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure you don't have any clumps of honey at the bottom.  I like to beat it until it gets a bit stiff since it will tend to soften up a bit in the fridge over the next few days.
  4. Store the whipped cream in the fridge in an airtight bowl.
*If your raw honey is very crystallized, place it over a bowl of warm water to make it a bit runny.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My 7-Year-Old Needs Orthodontics! EEK!

This post is the first in a series about alternatives to conventional orthodontics.

Things didn't develop perfectly during my first pregnancy.  Through the wonders of a nutrient-dense diet, my daughter Alina was able to survive in the womb with a half-sized placenta, yet we are still working on a few of the problems that resulted from her being nutrient-starved in the womb.

My daughter has a very fine bone structure. Ever since she was an infant, we have struggled with her having a poor appetite and poor weight gain. Early on, I became concerned that her baby teeth were crowded.  There was just enough space for all of her baby teeth, but there was no extra space at all.

Alina at 4 years old
Alina at 2 years old

Alina at 6 years old
I kept hoping that, through eating a nutrient-dense diet, my daughter's palate and jaw would grow larger to accommodate her adult teeth. Through classical homeopathy, we have been able to correct the imbalances in my daughter's appetite and weight gain, but one thing that hasn't changed is the size of her palate and jaw.  You can see in these recent pictures that her jaw structure is very different from her little brother's (and his head is larger than hers despite the fact that he is 3 years younger).

Alina age 7, Ian age 4: You can see that my daughter's baby teeth fit very tightly in her mouth, while her brother has space between all of his teeth.
My daughter started losing her baby teeth last year. Her new adult teeth will not fit into the spaces left by her baby teeth. Alina has lost three baby teeth so far, and only two adult teeth have emerged.  The third baby tooth she lost was not lost due to pressure from a tooth that was ready to emerge in that location. Rather, it was lost due to pressure from an emerging neighboring tooth that will not fit in the space left by the baby tooth.

Yup, she needs orthodontics! And she now has her first orthodontic appliance.

In upcoming posts, I am excited to share with you what I've learned about orthodontic options, why we're not using conventional braces, and how we are actually encouraging my daughter's jaw to grow to accommodate her adult teeth.

Did you have braces as a child? Do your kids need orthodontics?