Understanding the Common Symptoms of Myofunctional Disorders: What You Need to Know

Posted by NW MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY on Feb 18 2024, 12:51 AM

Are you experiencing difficulties with chewing, swallowing, or even speaking clearly? These could be signs of a myofunctional disorder. Understanding the symptoms and potential causes of these disorders is crucial for seeking proper diagnosis and treatment. Let's delve into the world of myofunctional disorders to shed light on this often-overlooked issue.

What are Myofunctional Disorders?

Myofunctional disorders are conditions that affect the muscles and functions of the face, mouth, and throat. These disorders can impact various activities, such as breathing, chewing, swallowing, and speaking.

One common type of myofunctional disorder is tongue thrusting, where the tongue pushes against or between the teeth during swallowing or speaking. This improper tongue position can lead to issues with dental alignment and speech clarity.

Another example is mouth breathing, which occurs when a person predominantly breathes through their mouth instead of their nose. Mouth breathing can result in dry mouth and bad breath and even contribute to sleep apnea.

These disorders often stem from habits developed in childhood but can persist into adulthood if left untreated. Seeking early intervention from a healthcare professional is key to managing these conditions effectively.

Causes of Myofunctional Disorders

Myofunctional disorders can stem from various factors, with both genetic and environmental elements playing a role. One common cause is prolonged habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting during childhood, which can impact the development of proper oral functions. Additionally, structural issues such as enlarged tonsils or a narrow palate may contribute to these disorders by affecting the positioning of the tongue.

In some cases, myofunctional disorders can also be linked to breathing patterns; for instance, chronic mouth breathing due to nasal congestion can alter oral muscle function over time. Poor posture and incorrect chewing or swallowing techniques are other potential culprits that could lead to the development of these disorders.

Furthermore, neurological conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy might also be underlying causes of myofunctional disorders in certain individuals. It's essential to understand these diverse triggers when addressing treatment options for those affected by such conditions.

Common Symptoms to Look Out For

  • Do you ever notice your child breathing through their mouth instead of their nose? Or perhaps they have difficulty swallowing or chewing food? Mouth breathing could be signs of a myofunctional disorder.
  • Another common symptom to look out for is speech issues, like lisps or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. If your child struggles with these, it might be worth exploring the possibility of a myofunctional disorder.
  • Pay attention if you see your child having trouble sleeping, such as snoring or sleep apnea. These sleep disturbances can also be associated with myofunctional disorders.
  • Additionally, if you notice that your child has tongue-tie, tongue-thrust, or an incorrect resting tongue position (resting on the bottom teeth instead of the roof of the mouth), this could indicate a myofunctional issue.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is important to consult with our myofunctional therapy practitioner for proper evaluation and treatment. Early intervention can prevent further complications and improve overall oral health. It's also common for children with these disorders to have dental abnormalities such as an open bite, crossbite, or crowded teeth. Being aware of these symptoms and seeking early intervention can help address myofunctional disorders effectively. Call us to learn more.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

When it comes to diagnosing myofunctional disorders, a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified healthcare provider is essential. This typically involves assessing the patient's medical history, conducting a physical examination of the oral cavity and facial muscles, and possibly ordering diagnostic tests such as imaging studies.

Treatment options for myofunctional disorders may vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In some cases, simple exercises and behavioral modifications can be effective in improving muscle function and coordination. Speech therapy or orofacial myofunctional therapy may also be recommended to address specific issues related to swallowing or tongue posture.

For more complex cases, interventions like orthodontic treatment or surgical procedures may be necessary to correct structural abnormalities contributing to the disorder. It's important for individuals with suspected myofunctional disorders to seek professional guidance from specialists trained in this area for personalized diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. Overall, early recognition and intervention are key in successfully treating myofunctional disorders. With proper diagnosis and a combination of appropriate therapies, individuals can improve their muscle function and lead healthier lives free from the limitations caused by these conditions.


Being aware of the common symptoms of myofunctional disorders can help in early detection and treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment options. By addressing myofunctional disorders proactively, individuals can improve their overall oral health and quality of life. Remember, early intervention is key in managing these conditions effectively.

Please schedule an appointment online or email us at to have a consultation with our team, and we will be happy to help.

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