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What Is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is a type of treatment that looks at the way the tongue and oral muscles move and function. Many people experience low muscle tone and swallowing issues that can lead to health problems.

Myofunctional therapy is based on a series of exercises that help patients learn to change bad habits. This improves tongue placement, breathing, speaking, chewing and swallowing, which can have a huge impact on their overall health and wellbeing.

Why Haven’t I Heard Of Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy has become more and more recognized over the past four decades, but it’s still not widely known or understood.

This is because most dentists, pediatricians, orthodontists, and ENTs were simply never trained in myofunctional therapy as part of their medical or dental education, so they don’t fully understand it. This is definitely changing as the whole body approach to healthcare becomes more popular.

What Is A Tongue Thrust?

A tongue thrust is the swallowing motion that a dentist or speech pathologist will recognize if they see your tongue coming forward. Dentists are concerned with the effects a tongue thrust has on the teeth, while speech pathologists are focused on how the tongue movement creates speech problems such as a lisp.

What Is Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing is when we breathe through our mouth instead of our nose. It can be caused by a number of conditions including allergies, food sensitivities and respiratory problems. Anything that makes it difficult or impossible to breathe through the nose will cause mouth breathing, and this can become a habit if it’s not addressed.

What Causes Mouth Breathing?

Specific causes of mouth breathing can include:

Food sensitivities and allergies
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
Chronic nasal congestion
Respiratory infection
Asthma
Deviated septum
Nasal polyps

Each of these issues can make it difficult or impossible for a person to breathe through their nose, and when this happens, their only option is to breathe through their mouth. If this isn’t corrected, it can become a habit that’s set for life.

What Are The Effects Of Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing can cause a range of symptoms that can affect all parts of our body from our teeth to our digestive system. Some of these symptoms include:

Underdeveloped jaws
Changes to facial appearance
Bad breath
Stomach pain and problems
Problems with braces and dental treatment
Delayed speech and language development in children
ADD and ADHD-like symptoms in children

How Does Your Therapy Work?

Myofunctional therapy is an exercise-based treatment, so I teach my patients exercises that help improve tongue placement, breathing, speaking, chewing and swallowing.

My goal is to teach awareness of the oral and facial muscles. When the tongue rests in the right place and the mouth stays closed, problematic symptoms disappear. Braces, speech, jaw pain and sleep apnea become much easier to manage and treat.

Do You Work With Dentists And Orthodontists?

Absolutely! I work closely with dentists, pediatricians, orthodontists and other practitioners so we can address your concerns from each of our different perspectives. It’s important to me that we work as a team, so I coordinate my treatment with any other healthcare providers you’re seeing.