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Why do we get milk teeth first?

Why do we get milk teeth before our permanent teeth?

Saul Yudelowitz BSc (Hons)

Just because you go to the gym three times a week on a regular basis and exercise, you are not likely to be as functionally healthy as you imagine. Even if you are enthusiastic about your exercise program, have a balanced program of cardiovascular, weight bearing and stretching and all the exercises you do are functional! Let me put this another way. If you are a banker who is not very good at buying low and selling high and you enthusiastically invest all you will end up doing is enthusiastically loosing money!

While it is important to have a balanced exercise program that is also functional and changed every 4-6 weeks this alone will not allow you to have functional health in old age. Lets define functional health: The ability to perform many of the tasks at the age of 80 that one takes for granted at the age of 30. Walking up and down stairs, going to the bathroom unassisted, ability to carry shopping parcels, playing with your grandchildren etc. In order to achieve functional health you need to also work on your biomechanics. A good example to use is running. I see many enthusiastic gym folk who run on the treadmill. Without considering your biomechanics at best you will only achieve an improvement in your cardiovascular system. However at that age of 80 it would be typical that you would have knee issues, this is due to running with poor biomechanics that have worn out the joints while you only focused on your cardiovascular health. I explain it to patient as follows; imagine you are driving a sports car with square wheels, while the car will go the rate of wear and tear is high. The more often you drive the car and the faster you drive the quicker you wear out the car.

You see I believe that we get milk teeth first for a number of reasons however one of them being this: Learning how to look after your teeth, what they require for health, how to brush and floss correctly are all important since once you have your permanent teeth this knowledge is vital. It is just the same with the bones and joints of the human body. When we are born our bones are very pliable. They can afford bending and then returning to their original shape. As we age our bones begin to ossify which means that they become stronger. What needs to be understood is that the process of strengthening f the bones is relative to the applied force on the skeletal system. This means that bones and joints are optimized for function by the applied forces that they are exposed to as we grow up. If your biomechanics are poor and this results in overpronation your knee joints are likely to be malaligned, which would predispose the knee joints to a high wear and tear rate. Running will only serve to increase the rate of degeneration. Addressing biomechanics from around the age of about 12-15 is vital so that the joints can have the best chance of obtaining balanced alignment so that the wear rate is as low as possible. This issue is very easy to prove. The contestants will sue the TV producers of the Biggest Looser in 5-8 years time since all that was achieved was degeneration of their joints. While the participants were overweight, no consideration for their biomechanics was taken into account and this results in an increased wear rate of the joints, particularly the slave joints, knees and hips. Another way of looking at this is studding an athlete. Their biomechanics are typically good for the sport that they compete at however this comes at the cost of other movement. Someone who is naturally gifted will have good biomechanics for that particular movement pattern. In nature you canít have only an upside, where you have an advantage in one area you have a disadvantage in another area. The point here is this. If you have not learnt how to walk correctly then you donít walk correctly. We learn how to walk by copying our parents. Boys tend to copy their father while girls tend to copy their mother. Our children will learn the biomechanical pattern of the way we walk, with its advantages and disadvantages. Just take a look at the person in front of you the next time you are walking down the road. Look at the way in which the pelvis as a unit works in conjunction with the lower extremity. It not difficult to see why degenerative joint disease is typically common in the 6th or 7th decade of life. Itís not normal but unfortunately it is common.


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