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Episode 102: Dental Health from Infancy to Pregnancy & Postpartum with Dr. Molly Hayes

, , , , , , April 12, 2023

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Jacqueline Kincer  0:03  

Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today I am joined by Dr. Molly Hayes. I was super excited to connect with her because she’s an airway-centric dentist. She’s also a mom of four in Omaha, Nebraska. And she’s given up the practice of traditional dentistry to focus on helping children sleep breathe and function better with the Healthy Start series of appliances. And she’s also trained through the Breathe Institute, which I’m a huge fan of to become an infant tongue tie release provider as well. So she loves educating parents on how to make healthy habits for facial development and making those things easy and doable. So I’m really excited to bring Dr. Molly on today for an exciting conversation about many things, dental, children, adults, we’re going to cover several things today. So hi, Molly. Thanks for coming on. 


Dr. Molly Hayes  1:32  

Thank you so much for having me. It’s gonna be it’s gonna be packed. I don’t think that we’re gonna take a second to come up for air during this conversation. Probably not no, but yeah, gosh, so you have kids of your own two kids? Are they a little bit? I have I have children seven and under. And I’m actually have our baby number five on the way. So thank you so much. Yeah, so it’s it’s noisy. And it’s fun. And my oldest two children are the reason that I I’m even doing all of this. So children, they cheat they change your life and and sometimes they change your your career. Yes, absolutely. So yeah, in what way? Did they set you out on this path? Yeah, so my oldest just turned seven. And I just always assumed that I would nurse my babies. And that it was like going to be the most natural thing in the world. That I would basically like be like a scene in a movie, just like out in nature. And it was gonna be beautiful and natural. And it was just the opposite. We left the hospital after 48 hours and everything seemed fine. But like the second we got home, she just wouldn’t latch. Not like having a hard time latching or it was painful, like she wouldn’t do it. And so you panic when your baby hasn’t eaten, your newborn hasn’t eaten for two hours. We go to the pediatrician for that first initial like two or three-day checkup. And I had two lactation consultants come into the pediatricians office that doctors nurses in and nobody looked under her tongue, and I’m a dentist, but I had no inclination to look under her tongue either. I now know that my oldest has, has a severe tongue tie that we’re working through. But that was the root cause. But she was bottle fed from day one. And you know, had a lot of issues with that. And then the same thing happened to my second baby. And I just thought it’s just me. I just can’t nurse there’s something about me. There just wasn’t a lot of support six and seven years ago. For me, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of support. And this was in the city of Chicago where there should have been ample resources, right. But my second baby, he ended up you know, he was bottle fed too, because he wasn’t nursing and he ended up in the hospital from aspiration pneumonia. So he was basically choking on his bottle the whole time. And I just had no idea until it was really bad. And so as a result, he needed a feeding tube. And he wasn’t ever sucking on a bottle wasn’t nursing for like three months of his life. And as a result, his face changed. Like my beautiful baby boy with his beautiful round face. And big eyes very quickly. got like an elongated face, and his nose looked like it was shrinking. And so that’s that was the beginning of it started going down this rabbit hole of what happened while you don’t use the muscles of your face. But baby isn’t actively sucking on something. Those muscles atrophy in the face changes. And it was both fascinating and heartbreaking as as a dentist, it was just fascinating. And then as his mother, I felt so responsible that I should have gotten to the root cause of why he couldn’t nurse why my first couldn’t nurse. It would have changed everything for us. So I just felt like the pain that was associated with all that couldn’t be wasted. And so it was a long time before I finally made the full switch to airway dentistry. I did a lot of reading and a lot of research before I kind of gave all that drill and fill up. But here I am, it took a few years to get here, but it was worth it. Oh, yes, absolutely. And you know, your journey parallels so many of us that are working in this space of supporting breastfeeding families, right, we typically have had our own struggles and made career shifts to entirely new careers, or transitioning the type of care that we’re giving. And, you know, I just think it’s so inspirational. And I really think, you know, not that you can’t be a great airway dentist, if you haven’t personally gone through this, but you have this incredible way of counseling your patients, right, and the parents and just, you know, giving them this insight that you have, because you’ve been there too. So I salutely I, I’ve learned a lot, you know, the courses I’ve taken and the the books that I’ve read, and all the podcasts, you know, like I’ve given up Netflix completely, I can just I can’t stop consuming all this. It’s so interesting. And it’s it’s endless. It’s an endless rabbit hole with no end. But really, at the end of the day, it’s everything that I’ve seen my kids go through from babies until now that that really helps me help parents because, you know, I have to remind myself of how much I do know, a lot of people come in they’re blank slates, I have no idea. No idea what’s going on with my child, and usually doesn’t take me too long to figure out what’s going on, you know, prolonged pacifier use and dumb sacking and tongue ties and large tonsils. And so just to be able to give relief to parents, because of what I’ve seen with my own kids, is, I don’t know, it’s, it’s endless joy to just be able to solve problems that have been ignored. A lot of parents feel like they’re passed around providers are, the problems are kind of put under the rug. Or it’s, it’s normal, that they’ll grow out or day, every day, they’ll grow out of it. Yeah, so just to be able to provide that release is just, I don’t know, I couldn’t ask for anything more. 


Jacqueline Kincer  7:23  

Or, you know, it’s amazing. It really is the best like for anyone who’s listening who is on like, the patient or client side of things like we truly love when we just give you that even validation of everything you’ve sensed with your mom gut is wrong. And you’re like, Oh, I finally have an answer. It’s like the most satisfying thing for us as providers. But yeah, I want to dive in and talk about because you mentioned one of your children, you you saw these changes in the face with with bottle use and not using those Facial and Oral muscles, and the way that we’re sort of designed to be using them. And then you mentioned prolonged pacifier use, I think those are two really, really important things to address. Because the reality is, is that most families are going to end up using bottles at some point. You know, usually because there’s a need to be separated from the baby, right? And it doesn’t mean it’s all or nothing. So many families end up exclusively pumping, because they just have not gotten great breastfeeding support. Maybe they have, you know, a baby with special medical needs. There’s multiple reasons. So we’re not here to say bottles are terrible and your child. Yeah, bottles are better than others. Getting technique matters. But I would love to hear your dental perspective on bottles and pacifiers. Because, you know, it’s just it’s a really important topic. And there’s so many to choose from.


Dr. Molly Hayes  8:44  

Yeah, oh, it is. It’s really overwhelming. And all four of my children have have received a bottle at some point in their life. And so there’s never any shame or judgment because you’re right, I think bottles are necessary. That’s why we have a team of lactation consultants and baby feeding specialists to kind of help parents choose the right bottles. And, you know, like you said, the way that you feed matters. And that’s it’s definitely not my area of expertise, but I’ve learned a lot. So yeah, from a dental perspective, if a baby can get off of a bottle by the age of one, if pediatrician says it’s okay, if a baby no longer needs, you know that as their primary source of nutrition. I think it’s for the best to get off that bottle by age one, we have teeth coming in. We are we’re forming that space. And the reality is, is that the face really doesn’t form well around bottles, like they do with the breast. And same thing goes for pacifiers. Ideally, if you can start weaning your baby off of a pacifier at six months, you will thank yourself in the long run. I know that sounds really early. But if you start at six months, the reality is it’s probably going to take you maybe a couple months, maybe you know up to a year to fully get your baby off of the path. To fire depending on your baby’s temperament, some babies are fine to let go of it right away, and some take a little bit longer. Some parents are okay with the cold turkey method of just taking it away. Some parents are a little bit nervous to do that losing sleep is a big deal when you have a baby. So sad started six months, and that baby can let go of the pacifier by one year, you’re really going to think yourself in the long run. Yeah, and why is that because if you’re going beyond a year with a bottle or a pacifier, you know, there’s some some negative consequences of using those longer term. Yeah, the teeth, the front teeth, baby teeth are gonna come in first. And with a pacifier hanging out of their mouth all the time, those teeth actually formed around the pacifier. It’s pretty amazing. There, the palate, the top jaw, the roof of the mouth is very moldable. In that first year of life, even in the first like three years of life, it’s kind of like molding clay, if you put your finger very gently on your baby’s palate, you’ll notice it’s really soft. If you put your finger in your own mouth and touch your palate, it’s not soft, it’s hard. So that palate is molding. And we want to use that to our advantage to grow a nice broad mouth, which leads to a broad airway. But if we let a child hang on to a pacifier until they’re one and a half, two, even three, those front teeth are actually going to form around the pacifier into a mal aligned bite. That can cause a lot of problems because it’s so moldable. So we can either use this to our advantage, or disadvantage if we’re letting a child hang on to bottles and pacifiers for too long. Hmm, yeah, absolutely. No, it makes so much sense when you think about it, especially with how narrow those particular nipples can be. And right, even if they’re made out of silicone, they’re not really as soft and squishy as something like the breasts would be so right difference. Yeah, yeah. And if you to ask about brands, I, I’ve learned from a lot of my lactation consultant friends, that the Ninni pacifiers are really great choice. But you know, from a dental perspective, I try not to get too hung up on brands and more just the timing, and the proper use of pacifiers. If you can just introduce a pacifier to help your baby go to sleep at night, and then if it falls out, leave it out, you’re going to be better off then you’re just giving your baby a pacifier every single time. They’re fussy, and never giving your baby a pacifier when they’re clearly hungry. You know, just to kind of like, get them by, you know, it’s it’s more about when and how you use it. And when you can let go of it. i Yeah, I agree. I think that’s really true, too. And some people will say, Well, my baby won’t take this type or what have you. And, you know, there’s reasons for that, right. But again, it’s more about how you use it and which one you’re using. Exactly. Yeah, the suck reflex is important. It’s very comforting for babies in those first few months of life. But what we see more often than not, is just an improper use of the pacifier. Right. Makes sense? I know I’ve read some articles about this. And it’s not necessarily specifically my area but near a dentist. There’s some concerns I know about dental caries cavities, right with pacifier use, too. I mean, I know they can easily fall on the floor. And usually we’re trying to clean those there’s pacifier wipes. Right. But like, I don’t see many parents really washing them between every use to be honest. It sounds like a really big concern. Um, you know, for dental caries, not for me, I mean, for other reasons, probably. Okay. Yeah, the the process that begins cavity formation, you know, it’s it’s complicated. Like it’s, it’s all there’s a lot of things that have to come together for it a cavity to form and so, to oversimplify it, and say, pacifiers cause cavities. Breastfeeding causes cavities. It’s too oversimplified for me, because the the formation of cavities, many things have to come together in this perfect storm in order for that to happen. Yeah, well, there there is this big idea that’s still propagated out there about breastfeeding causing cavity. Yeah, I hear it a lot. Tell us what some of those things are that have to come together for cavities to form and why breastfeeding is not this, you know, terrible demon that’s out to ruin our children’s teeth. Right? Well, let’s just say this. Once a tooth comes into the mouth, it can get a cavity. And by the time teeth come into the mouth between it can be anywhere from four to 12 months, that first tooth, it’s a big range of normal. So if you have a four month old with their first tooth, your four month old can get a cavity because it’s no longer protected underneath the gum line. So cavities form. When we start to create an acidic environment in our mouth, we have to have that acidic environment. And so what creates an acidic environment? Well, it’s food and breast milk counts as a food. So can breast milk cause a cavity? Yes, but other things have to have to be in play, we need a weekend to surface, it has to be susceptible to attack from decay. So perfectly healthy enamel doesn’t just get a cavity, there has to be kind of a weakening of that tooth structure first. And more often than not, what I see in my practice is weak enamel due to mouth breathing. What causes mouth breathing, and babies while tethered oral tissues lip and tongue ties cause mouth breathing. You know, but there’s, there’s a lot of other things that that can cause that to to weaken. If you give your baby like Cheerios, or like those little puffs, crackers, those are all little enamel decomposers I promise you, if you read the ingredients, you won’t be surprised that these little baby snacks have enough just kind of junk in them to weaken the enamel. So if your baby is mouth breathing, and you’re also nursing at night, and let’s say your baby has a lip tie that can act as a kind of a nice little trap for breast milk to get caught under that lip. Your baby can get cavities there. And and so you know, like I said, it’s just not that simple to say, Oh, you’re breastfeeding at night. Your this is what’s causing cavities. More often than not I’m seeing it in in babies and toddlers who are mouth breathing. Yeah, that makes sense. And is the mouth breathing? Because there’s not as much moisture against the teeth with saliva. So the mouth is drying out. Is it exactly. Okay. Yeah. So mouth breathing causes the saliva to change and also decrease in quantity. Saliva is our mouth best friend, when it comes to keeping us cavity free. It’s delivering minerals constantly just bathing the teeth in these good things. And so we see it in older people too, as we get older, and, you know, sometimes have to go on many medications that will will cause dry mouth. And so we see the geriatric population get more cavities than not. And it goes back to this dry mouth. So children who mouth breathe, are not getting that saliva delivered to their teeth, and they’re missing out on all those minerals. 


Jacqueline Kincer  17:29  

Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. And then I, you know, I’ve come up before, and I’ve had moms ask me, and I guess I haven’t looked too deep into the research on it. So I don’t know a good answer. So maybe you can give one but they’re, I guess there’s maybe been some sort of link between antibiotics and susceptibility to cavities. And I have a lot of moms who are really worried about oh, no, I had antibiotics while I was pregnant or in labor. That’s why my child has cavities. And I think moms were quick to like, blame themselves for things. But you know, is there any causal relationship there at all,


Dr. Molly Hayes  18:02  

you know, and the antibiotics are not my my forte either. But what I do know is that gut health is imperative to good oral health, because it’s connected, your mouth is the beginning of your gut. And so in patients that have any kind of gut issues, you know, Crohn’s disease, any kind of any kind of gut issues at all, we see cavities, if you cannot absorb nutrients in your gut, those nutrients are not getting to your mouth. And we need vitamin D, and vitamin K too, especially to keep healthy teeth. And so if you’re, you’re eating all the right things, but you have an undiagnosed gut issue that’s causing all these nutrients to just be wasted. Your teeth are gonna suffer because they have to go to your gut to get to your teeth. And, you know, I think overuse of antibiotics and gut issues, and you think it’s pretty clear that there’s that link. There’s a lot of things that do happen. You know, during prenatal development, the mom’s health does impact her baby’s teeth. But you know, there’s just no, no need to be blaming ourselves. We’re just doing the best we can. And the best advice I can give every mother is just to just keep her nutrition up. During those nine months, make sure you’re eating a lot of you know, animal foods, eat your meat, eat your liver. My midwife has an eating liver every single week, I have to log that I ate my liver. And just keeping your nutrition up, just do the best you can. And sometimes things happen and we can’t predict them. So you just have to do your best. It makes sense. I really does. It’s funny because this morning I was listening to a podcast called back at it which is about spine health. Now I’m like a junkie on that since I’ve had my own spine surgery and issues, but one of the stories they were having somebody tell about their experience was, you know, he was not an older guy, I think 30s or something, maybe early 40s. And when he was preparing to do this surgery that he was going to have, they did a bone density test and his bone density was not good. And the doctor was like, you’re gonna need to change your diet, and spend a year doing that. And also, you know, exercise weight, weight lifting is very important for that bone strengthened development. And within six months, he had recovered enough bone density exceeded his previous numbering through diet, things like in calcium rich foods, right? And through, you know, physical activity, which, like you’re saying, that jaw movement, right, that diet, like those things are so important, not just for the job, but the teeth as well. So, you know, I think what you said too, about acidity is important, because reflux is like, a common thing for babies. And a lot of times it goes away before they start getting teeth, but not always. So you know, that’s another factor that can also be caused by things like tongue tie. Yeah, you just have to dig a little bit. It’s so rough. Right? So so many factors, like you said, which I love it. It’s not like just you know, sugar equals cavities. Oh, my gosh, well, if it did, I would be in big trouble. Because I, I like sweets, and I’m not perfect. You know, and my family isn’t perfect, but it just have to prioritize nutrition 80% of the time. And if you do that, you can expect good results. Yeah, that’s totally fair. Right? It’s like, it’s not, it’s not sexy. Not necessarily really easy, but like, it’s yeah, it’s just the basics, not and I meet a lot of parents who I think they’re almost like afraid of the backlash that they’re gonna get at home. You know, what, like, older kids, if you’re, if your kids are used to getting goldfish for a snack, of course, it’s not going to be easy, but you just you have to say what’s worse, you know, in the long run, because the truth is that these, these processed foods have changed over the last decade. You know, I was a kid of the 80s and 90s. And I grew up on Pop Tarts and gushers, and Dunkaroos. And all that really great stuff. Yeah. And, like, really never got a cavity, you know, maybe a couple here and there, but something’s changed. And these foods are not the same. And so we just have, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re swimming this uphill battle right now. So we have to be we have to do the hard things, we don’t have a choice. So it is hard. But the sooner you start it with your kids, the easier it’s going to be, and you just kind of have to you have to stick to your guns, and you have to throw that stuff away. And you have to watch your kids do it. And you have to have kind of those hard conversations, you know, if your children are able to understand that. And if not, I’m always here to help you have the hard conversations. 


Jacqueline Kincer  23:01  

Yes, I love that we can like have you be the bad guy. And then I love being the bad guy for parents. Are you kidding me? That’s my job. That’s what you pay me to do. When you come in? You know, it, you have to you have to be a little bit more extreme than you think you need to be. Huh? Yeah. And, and to what you said about, like, you know, the mother’s health, you know, can can affect, you know, her Children’s Dental Health and obviously, health overall. And I know that you’re really one to talk a lot about like prenatal and postpartum oral health. And I think you know, in terms of pregnancy, and we have a fair amount of pregnant moms who listen to the podcast, you know, think we’re aware like your gums could bleed more when you’re pregnant, but kind of stops there like what what do we need to know prenatally even just for our own dental health? Because, you know, in postpartum too, right? There’s so many changes with, with hormones and things and, you know, sleep deprivation and that I don’t know, as much as I’d like to know. So yeah, it took a lot. I know. And I think that I think a lot of dentists will tell pregnant women that they’re bleeding gums are normal and just kind of have to suffer through it. Well, bleeding gums are never normal. So this could be a temporary hormonal change. Absolutely. But for our pregnant patients, we had them coming in for cleanings with a hygienist every three to four months during their pregnancy and postpartum just so that we can help them clean below the gum line. Because bleeding gums will always mean there’s a problem. There’s inflammation below the gum line. It’s you know, a lot of hormones pumping blood and now your body’s making more blood. And so that shows up in the mouth, but we have them coming in more frequently just to make sure that they’re bleeding gums don’t lead to bone loss because that can happen. If you’re not diligent about cleaning your teeth, brushing with an electric brush, flossing, seeing your dentist during your pregnancy, your gum inflammation, the Next step is for your bone to actually like lower and dissolve the to the bone that is supporting your tooth, the root of your tooth, two thirds of your tooth is below the gum line. And it’s anchored by bone and so that inflammation is an attack on the bone. And I would absolutely hate to see women do this beautiful thing by bringing life into the world and then suffer like loose teeth. That’s called periodontal disease. And we do see it secondary to pregnancy gingivitis a lot. So we just recommend that you come in more frequently for your cleanings, vitamin C and collagen imperative during your pregnancy for gum health. Of course, you always want to check with your, your primary care doctor about how to get that vitamin C, I just eat a ton of fruit. I’m just eating oranges right now and grapefruit like it’s my job and peppers, but vitamin C and collagen for gum health. And then a lot of women will see cavities pop up postpartum, it’s, you know, it’s those hormonal changes. Or if you were really sick during your first trimester, all that vomits can erode the enamel. I know that during my first trimester is I’ve always just wanted bread around the clock, so your diet is maybe not as good. So you have to be just a little bit more diligent and you have to work with a dentist who’s going to partner with you and kind of tailor that care to your particular prenatal and postnatal needs. Oh, yeah, that’s, that’s really good advice. You know, I myself have recovered from bleeding gums through just you know, finding a dentist that didn’t just say what was happening, but actually told me how to manage it on my own at home. Good, good. Yeah, they were, you know, kind of check, you know, the gum pockets and oh, you’re bleeding a lot. And then like, Would you like a free toothbrush? Goodbye. We’ll see you in six months. And I’m like, Oh, hey. What does that mean? Red flag. Yeah, yeah, so yeah, gum measurements, good place to start, always want a baseline. But we do take pregnancy gingivitis pretty seriously here, because that bacteria that is you know, you know it’s inflammation, always that inflammation that is in your mouth is going to your bite your baby. And it’s going to every part of your body, it’s going to your heart. So like, you know, your home care just has to be perfect, unfortunately, during pregnancy, which is not always the time that you feel like being perfect with your home care. But, but it’s really important that you keep healthy gums for a healthy baby. We do see women who have periodontal disease, or severe gum disease, give birth to lower weight babies, sometimes they are preterm. So there’s a lot of consequences to leaving periodontal disease during your pregnancy. Wow. Yeah, absolutely. Go to the dentist. Ladies.


Dr. Molly Hayes  27:54  

That’s Yes. Go to the dentist. There’s Yeah, a lot of you know, a lot of women want to shy away from it, I think because because we don’t do X rays. You know, and we try to steer away from dental work unless it’s, you know, needed. But you should go get your cleanings. Go see your hygienist every three to four months. It’s so important. They’ll be your best friend. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that’s, you know, something, something to consider, right is, is there still something to do? It’s worth going even if we weren’t doing certain things. So yeah, agreed. Good point. Well, I’d love to dive back into the topic of airway because it’s all connected. And, you know, this is something you’re super passionate about. And I know you obviously do for anatomy, right? So there’s that. And you’re, you know, looking for times assessing for those, you’ve got other ways to manage airway issues. Beyond infancy, right, so tell us a little bit more about like what you’re seeing in your practice, and you know, how things are going with, with airway, like you said, there’s been some big changes, you know, whether it’s foods over the last 10 years, but also growth in this knowledge in the field. So it’s exciting. It is really exciting. When I first decided to become a healthy start provider. You know, like I said, he did it so that I could help my children. So I thought at the very least I’ll be able to help two kids. I started Yeah, I started and then it was like, dozens of children per week. I, you know, started seeing all these symptoms. Healthy Start says nine out of 10 kids have at least one symptom of sleep disordered breathing. And I thought, no way do 90% of my patients have sleep disordered breathing. But then you go through the training. And it’s like, well, it might be more like nine and a half 10 out of 10 kids have sleep sign of sleep disordered breathing. So it could be that now I’m looking for it and I’m seeing it, but there definitely seems to be kind of a shift with shrinking jaws. which is leading to more crowded teeth, which leads to more airway issues more dysfunction with chewing, swallowing, breathing. So yeah, most of most of the kids that come in here, you know, look like happy, healthy kids. And then when I look in their mouth, the things that I see our enlarged tonsils, baby teeth that are touching, tightness under the tongue, they have a really hard time touching their palate with their tongue. And their mom and dad say they’re tossing and turning. They’ve been potty trained for years, but they still wet the bed, waking up in the middle of the night, night terrors, feeling really groggy in the morning suffering in school, and they weren’t before. And I put all these pieces together? And the answer is your child isn’t sleeping well, at all, you think that you tuck your child in, and you don’t see them until morning, and they’re getting a great night’s sleep, and they’re actually never getting a full night’s rest, they’re getting maybe a couple of hours of good rest, when children as we know, need so much sleep to grow and thrive and develop. And without it, they’re just not their best. And they’re suffering other health issues as a consequence. Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s a lot. And, you know, like you said, you’re noticing, you know, the tension under the tongue. Like, when you see these these children, you know, who are beyond infancy, and they’re having these issues? How common is it for you to see no oral ties in those children? Um, you know, right now, I would say it’s just right about 50%, I see tension. And we have our newborns here. And we do, you know, we do the for neck dummies pretty quickly, you know, we want to get them some chiropractic care, see a lactation consultant. But you know, all that’s happening, hopefully, in a couple weeks or less, because we want baby to start breastfeeding really well and thriving, and mom and dad are frustrated, and we’re looking for answers. But with children, you know, it’s a little bit of a different process. We’re working very closely with a biologist, biology is it’s not new, but my goodness, it’s come into the spotlight lately, and I just can’t sing the praises of my ologists enough, they’re really helping us release providers, you know, a avoid releases, because who wants to have their child go through that if you don’t have to, so they can work kind of like a physical therapist to to help the tongue function better. And if we need to do a release, then they’re our go to provider to help prepare for that release, and then care for the patient after. But to get back to your question. Yeah, it’s, it’s probably about half the kids I’m seeing have tension under the tongue. And I don’t say you have a tongue tie. Or say, you have tension under your tongue, you have a lot of symptoms that are associated with a dysfunctional tongue. The next step for children for years and older is to see a biologist. Now, there’s kind of this gap right now, if my ologists can’t work with a child until they’re four because they really need to be active participants in that therapy. Then what do we do? Well, I use a healthy start habit corrector. And we can start as early as two, we get a lot more luck around three, getting these kids to use this nighttime appliance called a habit corrector. It’s a tongue positioner. It’s a natural expander. It’s, it’s correcting all those bad habits, basically. So we lean on that habit character a lot for children who can’t go into biology. And we and we use it in conjunction with my allergy to for older children. But that’s kind of a nice tool to use to fill in the gaps for those kids who are who are not ready for biology. Yes, yes. I love that. Yeah, I feel like there’s a lot of parents who, you know, maybe find out, you know, it’s baby number two, and they’re like, Oh, my toddler obviously has this too. But you know, they’re not old enough to get some treatment. So they feel like, you know, they’re just sort of left in the lurch and have to wait. There are some in between options, which is really nice. And sometimes, you know, depending on the kiddo and compliance, you might have to wait until they are a bit older, but you know, they’ve made it this far. So like, write as much as we can try to preserve and improve you know, before that time, they think is totally fair to yeah, sometimes we’re just kind of helping children along. There’s the habit factor. My own munchie is a great tool. You know, I use it kind of as an interim tool, it’s not going to be our end all be all but it is it is a good tool, supporting your child to learn to breathe through their nose by doing daily nasal rinses. While these kids are just really congested, and they just need their boogers washed out. So rinsing out the nose every night. It’s part of it’s part of our routine at home. Before we brush our teeth. We rinse our nose, you know, and then going back to nutrition. Let’s chew on carrots and Apple wheels and steak and things that challenge our jaws instead of opting all the time for like applesauce and yogurt and mushy foods, right? Yeah, no, I think that’s really important. And then, you know, even thinking about, you know, babies around six months and they’re beginning solid foods, you know, it’s totally appropriate to start with mashed foods and purees because you’re, you don’t want to go from a totally liquid to totally solid there should be kind of a progression right? And we want to make sure that they’re, you know, safely swallowing and things of that nature right. But yeah, we do want to get you know, even your baby off of you know, quote unquote, baby foods, right, so like, what are some of your first favorites for that? You know, second half of infancy? Yeah, I think avocado was my go to with my last kiddos, because I did everything wrong with my first you know, she got like, I think she got like the rice cereal. I can’t believe I did that. But that’s what I was told. You know, I have really been into reading all the books about baby led weaning it just as a as an airway focus dentist, baby led weaning makes a lot of sense to me. You know, it’s, it’s, you can introduce these harder foods just kind of you have to learn how to serve it to baby and and how you cut it, you know, you’re actually not going to give baby like these really small cut up pieces. It’s counterintuitive. You you hand them, you know, like, like a strip of steak, you know, at an age of age appropriate you know, check out baby led weaning books, but I think avocados were always like my go to with with my last two. Yes, just perfectly mushy. All the good nutrients. Avocados are like nature’s perfect food. It’s it’s a crowd favorite. For sure. Yeah. Oh my goodness, you are just like such a well rounded wealth of knowledge. And oh, you’re sweet. Yeah, I love it. We just could talk about so many different things. And you know, could keep going for sure. I do want to tell our audience about your not only beautiful, but super educational and informative Instagram feed. Guys, you have to go to Dr. Molly Hayes. There’s no like, you know, underscores or anything. Just Dr. Molly Hayes. Like, it’s just so good. And thank you. I have a lot of fun doing it. And I you know, I have a lot of fun watching people, you know, kind of comment and send messages that they’ve tried something and it’s working and, you know, my page is definitely not for for for medical advice only. But I love making a difference. And that’s what, that’s why I’ll keep posting.


Jacqueline Kincer  37:46  

Yeah. Oh, gosh, no, it’s, it’s great. And, and it’s just those nice little like, if you just if you just like follow when you see it in your feed, and it’s like a good little reminder. Good little tidbit. Right. Like, just to kind of there in the background like hey, yeah, really nice little nugget of information. 


Dr. Molly Hayes  38:05  

Let’s keep it simple. Because Gosh, it’s so hard, isn’t it? Like I I think it’s hard. I feel like you know, parenting these kids in this day and age. It’s it’s, it’s heavy. So I want to make this easy and and not overwhelming. Always. My goal is to keep it simple and to be be your cheerleader. Yes. 


Jacqueline Kincer  38:27  

Oh gosh. Well, if there’s any just, you know, really, piece of wisdom or advice or, you know, a really important point that you would want to leave our listeners with. I’d love to hear what that is. Oh, boy, I have so many things. You know, I think go back to the basics. Just go back to the basics. I think a lot about like how my great grandmother lived her life and cared for her children. And I think it’s a complicated world. This is a this is a new world with screens. And you know, it’s very modern world. Just go back to the basics. I love that. Yeah, I think simple is a really good way to go. We can overcomplicate things really can’t Yeah, it’s tempting. Everything around us is telling us to do more, more stuff, do more and I really want to encourage people to just do less. The second I let go of a lot of the stuff that I thought I had to do as a parent is really when I became a better parent, you know, we dropped all activities for our kids ever since last summer. You know they’re they’re still little and so I felt like it was an okay thing to do. And the relief I felt of not having to go to swimming lessons and dance lessons, you know and have like this calendar that kept my life in order. I was a more present mom. We were able to cook every meal at home for her like we axon and before we would have to order pizza, you know. So, back to the basics. Don’t feel like you have to overcomplicate your life and, and I feel like you’ll find that joy in parenthood again and your kids will be healthier for it. Oh, I love that. Well, your best. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me off. Absolutely. And yeah, we’ll link up your website and your Instagram in the show notes. So that way it’s easy for people to like and find you. But yeah, if anyone is in the Omaha area, definitely check out Dr. Molly Hayes and I appreciate you sharing so much. Great information with us. 


Dr. Molly Hayes  38:27  

You are welcome. Thank you, Jacqueline.

In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by Dr. Molly Hayes, an airway-centric dentist, and a mom of four. Molly has given up the practice of traditional dentistry to focus on helping children sleep, breathe, and function better with the healthy start series of appliances. Molly loves educating parents on how to make healthy habits for facial development, and making those things easy and doable for every family. 


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How to maintain good healthy habits and how to establish them
  • How to help your children sleep better
  • Pregnancy dental care for optimal oral health


A glance at this episode:

  • [2:16] How Molly became interested in airway dentistry
  • [7:40] The dental perspective on bottles and pacifiers
  • [10:34] How pacifiers affect teeth
  • [14:40] What causes cavities in teeth
  • [20:08] The importance of bone density
  • [23:17] Prenatal oral health and pregnancy
  • [28:28] Managing airway issues beyond infancy
  • [30:43] Common problems with sleep


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