Baby Growth Stages: Oral Muscle Development

Jamie J. Alexander on June 1, 2017

Baby Growth Stages: Oral Muscle Development

Muscle activity has an impact on the development of jaw and facial muscles and the bone structure on which the muscles place tension. Breastfeeding the child for a year or more helps properly develop the oral muscles and jawbone to create:

  • The room teeth need to fit in the jaw, lowering the risk of poor alignment and minimizing orthodontic therapy
  • A more open airway, improving nasal breathing, increasing oxygen flow and lowering the risk of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Proper upper and lower jaw alignment for a facial profile that is more aesthetic

Addressing Oral Baby Growth Stages for your Child

“Dentists, including myself,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL, “recommend refraining from using a pacifier, as this type of sucking action puts downward pressure on the tongue and over crucial months of infant develop can lead to a V-shaped upper jaw and retracted lower jaw.

“As a parent of young children, I know firsthand that it is an exciting time for both parents and baby, as the child explores the world of foods. Keep in mind that the pureed food commonly fed to babies does not help in the optimal development of oral muscles. Many parents are successfully weaning through the introduction of foods that require chewing forces. Your child’s pediatrician will advise you best for your child, but a good conversation with the pediatrician about this should occur by the time your baby is able to sit up on his or her own and starts taking interest in table foods.”