Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) affects your ability to speak, chew, swallow, and even breathe properly. You may notice that a loved one snores at night, has a lisp when speaking, or displays an overbite (upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth, causing the lower teeth to appear hidden from sight).
Are OMDs Serious?
As humans, we spend the majority of the day opening and closing our mouths to talk, eat, drink, smile, laugh, etc. In fact, the average human swallows up to 1,000 times a day (AOMT). So, it’s clear we need our face, mouth, tongue, and throat muscles to work together to keep up with our daily routine. However, when our orofacial structure is misaligned, our airways become obstructed, and if left untreated, OMDs can develop into other serious health issues.
Let’s take a step back and discuss how and why OMDs cause airway obstruction.
The Link Between OMDs and Airway Obstruction
The development of the upper and lower jaw plays a vital role in how your body inhales and delivers oxygen to vital organs, including the brain. This is because the roof of the mouth plays the dual rule of the floor of the nose.
If an individual’s upper jaw is underdeveloped, due to childhood habits that may include bottle feeding, soft food diets, and thumb sucking, the nasal cavity and nasopharynx (this is the airway located in the upper part of the throat behind the nose) will become abnormally smaller. This leaves less room for airway clearance, and as a result, the body has a harder time performing nasal breathing. And if you’re unable to breathe through your nose, the next logical entry way is through the mouth, which can affect a person’s skeletal development (The Breath Institute).
Why Is Mouth Breathing Harmful to Our Health?
Nasal breathing helps promote a healthy orofacial structure. Without it, our mouth, tongue, cheeks, and jaw muscles cannot develop properly, which leaves us more vulnerable to dental issues, including crowded or spaced teeth, gum disease and tooth decay, problems with jaw alignment (TMJ), Sleep Apnea, and other serious issues (Medical News Today).
It’s important to note that there are other common causes of airway obstruction, including allergies, asthma, Sleep Apnea, and chronic lung conditions like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). However, if you or your child is experiencing difficulty breathing through the nasal passage, it may be the result of an orofacial myofunctional disorder. The best way to know for sure is to contact your Dakota Dental team, so you can find an effective treatment.
Why is Airway Dentistry Used to Treat OMDs?
The purpose of airway-focused dentistry is to help retrain your orofacial muscles to function properly: “When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles is attained” (AOMT).
Using Myofunctional Theory, a non-invasive therapy that incorporates facial and tongue exercises into a person’s daily routine to help strengthen these muscles, your Dakota Dental team can help you treat these health issues early on:
Myofunctional Theory is available for both children and adult patients. To find out if this form of airway-focused dentistry is right for you or your loved ones, schedule a consultation with our team today! We’ll discuss your concerns, review your medical history, and provide you with a comprehensive dental treatment plan that aligns with your needs for healthy teeth, stronger jawline and orofacial muscles, and overall wellness.
If you have questions, contact us today for more information about our holistic wellness services.