We all know good nutrition will build a strong body and set a child up for good health. And if you've read Dr. Weston A. Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, you know that it is possible to actually widen the palate, or the jaw and facial structure, of a child — with the right diet.
According to Dr. Price, it is the fat soluble activators, vitamins A, D and K2 — found in foods like liver, pastured egg yolks, grass-fed cheese, butter and cream — that build proper bone structure — and prevent a narrow jaw and crooked teeth.
However, can you actually expand a child's palate after he or she is born? Or is it only possible when they are in utero?
This is a question I've been pondering lately. And serendipitously, I got my answer via my email inbox.
Good Diet, Wide Face, Straight Teeth
I'm a total believer that a WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) diet during pregnancy can widen a child's palate. What I don't know is if it's possible to make an impact on older babies and children.
The photo above is of my 3-year-old daughter, Kate. When I posted it on my Facebook page recently, a reader commented about how wide her palate was, and how well-spaced her teeth were. This reader said that years ago she had lived in Nigeria where none of the children ever needed braces. She said that Kate's teeth and jaw looked just like the Nigerian children's.
I do see a difference between Kate's teeth and most other children her age. Most 3-year-old children have teeth that don't have much (if any) space in between. Kate's palate definitely seems wider.
I have always believed that the reason there is ample space between Kate's teeth is because I've been feeding her so well since she was a baby.
It most likely isn't due to what I ate before she was born. I didn't know how to eat to prepare my body for fertility. Before I had her, I ate as well as I could as a busy childless working person. But that's not saying a whole lot. Long hours, take-out lunches and dinners. And lots of coffee with 2% milk. I ate imported full-fat cheese, liver pâté, and meals rich in butter and cream when I'd go out for the occasional fancy dinner — but that was probably only once or twice a month.
What If You Miss the Boat on the Pre-conception Diet?
I was talking with a WAPF friend recently. Although she fully believes that facial structure can be perfected with the right diet, she said she does not believe that it is possible to widen a child's palate after they are born unless you do it with an appliance. She said she thought the palate was formed in the womb and that it was impossible to widen it after they are born without the help of orthodontics.
I didn't find the Weston A. Price Foundation until my daughter was 5 months old. Unfortunately I was not eating a traditional diet when she was conceived, nor did I eat traditional foods when she was in utero. If I had known about it, I certainly would have!
Needless to say, my friend's statement was shocking to me. Ever since I found the Weston A. Price Foundation, I have believed that it is possible to expand the palate without an appliance. I figured you may need an appliance in addition to the nutrient-dense diet, but that the diet would go a long way toward widening the palate.
Cod Liver Oil for High Cheekbones
After I found the Weston A. Price Foundation when Kate was a baby, I went into overdrive to make sure she was well-nourished. I nursed her as much as I could. Since I had low milk supply, I had to supplement with the raw milk formula. However, I was also eating a nutrient-dense diet in order to produce more nutritious breast milk.
I started giving her cod liver oil, and when she was 6 months old, I started feeding her the recommended WAPF solids — egg yolks and liver every day. I was trying to make up for lost time — since I knew she didn't get the nutrients she needed when she was in the womb.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!
I was really relieved to find the email below in my inbox. Someone had asked this very question to a group of other people in an email chain, and somehow I had been added to list.
The answer came from a mother named Karen:
Babies born to mothers who were not on this diet during pregnancy may be born with a tendency towards dental deformities, but as long as they are still growing, you have an opportunity for great influence with the diet. I discovered this diet over 3 years ago when my kids were 5 and 7 years old.
We have been following a Nourishing Traditions diet with cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil ever since, and I am now noticing improvements in my kids dental health. My older daughter's palate is widening and her adult teeth are coming in not above, but outside of her baby teeth. Our dentist, who is a biological dentist and orthopedic orthodontist agreed with me that this is a good thing.
I believe that if my daughter wasn't on this diet, then her adult teeth would probably be coming in right above her baby teeth (reflecting a more narrow palate), so the widening is very encouraging and shows me that this diet works. My daughter's teeth are less crowded now than they were before we started the diet. You can see it in the x-rays.
We take Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil every day, as well as emulsified vitamin D3 (from Biotics Research Corporation) and a typical Nourishing Traditions diet.
Isn't that awesome? Her teeth are actually coming in outside of her baby teeth! If that's not proof, I don't know what is.
Kate is still on the fermented cod liver oil and I've now added the high vitamin butter oil. She won't eat liver anymore, although I fed it to her pretty much daily for the first year she was on solids. See this post of a typical meal she ate as a baby: chicken livers and sardines! I'm trying to think of ways to hide the raw beef liver capsules (any ideas, anyone?).
I do give her plenty of grass-fed cream, butter and cheese on a daily basis, plus lots of raw milk and pastured eggs. She also loves soups and sauces made with fish or chicken stock.
She doesn't much like meat but when she does eat it, I try to make sure it's pastured. She won't eat seafood like she used to as a baby. She used to eat raw oysters (see the photo below) like they were going out of style — now she won't touch them. (I'm sure this is a temporary phase.) But recently she has very much enjoyed eating king crab with drawn butter as well as shrimp.
She eats grains, but we eat only sprouted and/or fermented/soaked grains at home (we make exceptions when we are out to dinner or visiting friends or family). And never without butter and other good fats!
While she used to love kefir, sauerkraut and pickles as a baby, she won't eat them anymore. But she will drink kombucha and kefir smoothies, and she loves yogurt sweetened with maple syrup. And I've been giving her Biokult (a probiotic — see my resources page) since she was 1-year-old.
This year I'll be taking her to her first dentist appointment and we'll get the definitive scoop on how her jaw is developing. If we need to do an appliance, we will.
But I'm so happy to have gotten this email from Karen who is having great success with the diet (she told me her kids may have to use appliances, too, in addition to the diet).
Read More about How to Eat Prior to, During and After Pregnancy
Click here to read more about the fertility diet that the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Share Your Thoughts Below
What are your experiences with widening your children's palates? Did you get a late start like I did? What kind of results have you seen?
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