Do you know that mouth breathing can affect your facial growth as well? The muscles of mouth-breathing children are often tighter, and this can affect the symmetry of the face as well. Mouth breathing also causes changes to the bone structure of the face, which can affect the shape of the face in later years.
Mouth breathing, also known as chronic nasal obstruction or “mouth-breathing syndrome,” is defined by the position of the lips when at rest. In mouth breathing, the upper lip is protracted, and the tongue rests on the alveolar ridge of the upper jaw. Because the lower jaw is too small for the tongue to fit inside comfortably, the air must pass through the narrow space in the mouth between the upper and lower teeth. In other words, the mouth is always open in mouth breathing even when a person is not speaking. This constant airflow through the mouth can result in a dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.
Mouth breathing is often caused by enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils, which are soft tissue masses found in the back of the nose behind the palate of the mouth. Enlarged adenoids can block the airway and cause mouth breathing in children, while in adults, it can be caused by allergies and sinus problems. Other causes of mouth breathing include lip, tongue, and palate abnormalities; forward head posture; and obesity.
Mouth breathing can have an adverse effect on the dentofacial growth of the face and mouth over time. When children breathe through their mouths chronically, they can develop an open bite because the teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed. An open bite can lead to wear patterns and tooth grinding that may damage the teeth. Chronic mouth breathing can also affect the development of the jaw and lead to malocclusions, such as an overbite or underbite. The jaws of children with mouth breathing often grow in a forward and downward direction rather than outward. This can lead to a narrow upper arch and crowding of the lower teeth.
Treatment for mouth breathing may include myofunctional therapy or orthodontic treatments to correct any misalignments or bite problems that can contribute to mouth breathing.
Myofunctional therapy is a noninvasive procedure that treats the causes of mouth breathing and malocclusions to help correct the oral habits that create these ailments. Through a unique two-phase treatment process, myofunctional therapy will train the tongue to work correctly with the jaw while correcting any misalignments. This will help patients breathe through their nose instead of their mouth. Many patients see significant improvements in their overall health after undergoing myofunctional therapy.
NW Myofunctional Therapy is equipped with modern amenities and technologies that enable the best treatment opportunities. To know more, please call us at (206) 276-5294, schedule an appointment online or email us at [email protected] to have a consultation with our team in Portland, OR, and we will be happy to help.