Digit Or Object Sucking & Chewing
The roof of the mouth in growing children will take form of any object that is in its place. When the thumb or fingers sit at the roof of the mouth we create a high palate and the teeth do not come in or form properly. This can also cause other issues to include growth of a narrow airway and a shifting of the lower jaw to either . the right or the left side also known as a cross-bite.
We need to re-train the tongue to sit at the roof of the mouth so the teeth may come in and the jaws can form properly.
What Is A Tongue Thrust?
A tongue thrust, or a tongue thrust swallowing pattern, is the most recognizable sign that you or your child may need myofunctional therapy. A tongue thrust occurs when the tongue pushes forward during a swallow. The most problematic aspect of this condition is where the tongue rests in the mouth.
When someone has this condition, the tip of the tongue rests against or between the front teeth, and the entire tongue is positioned low in the mouth. Ideally, the tongue should rest in the top of the mouth and provide an internal support system for the upper jaw.
It is important to recognize that a tongue thrust is a symptom. It can be an indicator of other health concerns involving the airway and breathing. When this kind of swallowing pattern is present, it’s almost inevitable that mouth breathing and an open mouth resting posture will also be found.
What is a Tongue & Lip Tie?
Also known as a TOT(s) or Tethered Oral Tissue.
The subject of tongue-ties used to be something that wasn’t discussed much but I’m currently getting contacted pretty much daily by patients who either have kids who are tongue-tied, or who are dealing with the health effects of a tongue-tie themselves.
Sleep Disordered Breathing
"Sleep is a major physiological drive. The average child spends almost one-half of his or her life asleep. A newborn will sleep for as much as 16 h a day. Thus, respiratory disorders during sleep are of particular importance during childhood. Although some respiratory disorders, such as sleep apnea, occur only during sleep, virtually all respiratory disorders—including upper airway obstruction, central hypoventilation, and chronic lung disease—are worse during sleep than wakefulness. We all breathe better awake than asleep. During sleep, there is a decrease in minute ventilation. In adults, minute ventilation decreases by approximately 13–15% compared with the value during wakefulness; respiratory rate tends to remain constant and the decrease is due primarily to a decrease in tidal volume. In contrast, studies of infants, children, and adolescents have shown that the respiratory rate decreases during sleep."
Grinding & Clenching
Grinding teeth of not normal or natural. Either is clenching of the teeth and Jaws. It could mean there is an underlying muscular dysfunction or a sleep disordered breathing present.
Grinding in children does not go away over time. It actually can get worse and effect the adult teeth once they come in.
If you or your child have flat and or broken teeth then a consultation by a Orofacial Myologist can help.
What Is Mouth Breathing?
It is perfectly natural to breathe through your mouth at certain times, such as when lifting a heavy load or exercising. Breathing through the mouth most of the time, however, can cause health problems.
Mouth breathing starts when we can’t get enough air through the nose, so the mouth takes over. This forces us to breathe through the mouth out of sheer necessity, and this can become a life-long habit if not corrected.
It is important to realize that mouth breathing and having an open mouth are really the same thing, and are equally detrimental to your health.
Allergies / Allergic Shiners
Allergic shiners or allergy eyes are a sign of lack of oxygen that has been associated with sleep disordered breathing and mouth breathing.
If you or your child experience allergies to dander, dust and pollen there may also be a link to mouth breathing and lack of oxygen.
It’s important to understand that myofunctional therapy and speech therapy are not the same thing.
Just as dental hygienists aren’t trained in myofunctional therapy as part of their formal education, neither are speech pathologists.
However, myofunctional therapy exercises can be considered a foundational treatment when approaching speech problems.
From the myofunctional perspective, if the muscles and tongue are not working properly, children can experience great difficulty producing certain sounds.
Therefore, it makes sense to rule out any muscular involvement prior to beginning a speech therapy program.
In my practice, I regularly hear patients struggle to make the correct “S” sound. This is because lisping is a symptom that goes hand in hand with having a tongue thrust and mouth breathing.
Other specific sounds that are connected with having a tongue thrust and mouth breathing are “T”, “D”, “N” and “L”. These sounds require precise movement and placement of the tongue, which makes them challenging for those without fine control of their oral muscles.
My myofunctional therapy program teaches both children and adults the precise movements and placement of the tongue, along with the muscle control that can help address functional problems related to speech.