A seemingly harmless habit can be wreaking havoc on your child’s health — mouth breathing.
There are a variety of reasons why an individual may be mouth breathing such as a stuffed up nose from colds or allergies, enlarged adenoids, a deviated septum, a tongue tie or dental issues such as an overbite which can impact the lip’s ability to close.
Any time a child mouth breathes, the brain is being deprived of oxygen. Symptoms such as problems sleeping, paying attention and behavior problems can occur.
Our nose performs critical functions related to breathing. The nose is responsible for producing nitric oxide which allows your lungs to absorb oxygen and transports it throughout the body. The nose warms the air we breathe acting as a as a filter for viruses and bacteria.
When the tongue is not in it’s correct position problems such as incorrect jaw and teeth development can occur, along with a high narrow palate, speech problems and misaligned teeth.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) affect the muscles of the mouth and face and thus their functioning. OMDs can cause many problems either directly or indirectly research now shows including:
- problems breastfeeding
- stunted facial skeletal growth and development
- disordered chewing
- speech impediments
- malocclusion (often treated with braces)
- temporomandibular joint movement/disorders
- poor oral hygiene
- stability of orthodontic treatment
- facial esthetics
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) addresses the oral structures (i.e. lips, tongue, jaw, cheeks and palate) and their impact on swallowing skills and oral rest posture. Basically, OMT is the retraining of oral and facial muscles to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing and swallowing.
If you’re concerned about your child’s mouth breathing, a visit to a dentist, an ENT or a Speech-Language Pathologist trained in Orofacial Myofunctional therapy may be able to help.