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Myofunctional Therapy – How Do I Know If My Child Needs It?

It’s as natural as breathing. But for some people, breathing doesn’t always come so naturally! myofunctional therapy for kids

The cells in our bodies need oxygen to stay alive, and getting the right amount is key to optimal living. If something is wrong with the way we breathe, it impacts our entire system. That’s where myofunctional therapy comes in.

Using a combination of physical therapy to improve their bite, breathing, and facial posture, myofunctional therapy helps those with myofunctional disorders improve the way they position their tongue and how they breathe. 

This can be especially difficult for parents of children struggling with myofunctional disorders, which can impede their child’s breathing, sleep, and even mood. Myofunctional therapy may be able to restore your child’s breath and help them breathe as nature intended.

Myofunctional disorders can impede your child’s ability to breathe, talk, swallow, and eat. There are many symptoms of the disorder, mostly involving the mouth. Causes can vary, but lingual ties, prolonged bottle-feeding, and even thumbsucking can cause it. Myofunctional therapy can help solve these issues and restore your child’s breathing.

Signs Your Child May Need Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy may become necessary if your child develops an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). These occur when the normal growth of the muscles and bones in the mouth and face are interrupted in some way, resulting in trouble:

It’s possible for children to outgrow some of these problems naturally. Their natural growth process will remedy the problem causing the symptoms to disappear.

However, some may last long into adolescence and even adulthood. While it’s possible that some OMD-like symptoms may disappear, it’s important to have your child assessed. Doing so can ensure that they get the treatment they need now to prevent new problems in the future.      

Symptoms of Myofunctional Disorders in Children

There are multiple symptoms that may point to your child having an OMD. They can include:

Who’s at risk for OMDs?

Some children are at a higher risk for myofunctional disorders than others. Having certain risk factors doesn’t guarantee that they’ll develop the condition. On the other hand, it could be an important indicator of what the future holds. 

Children are at a higher risk for OMDs if they experience:

Lingual ties (tongue ties) are apparent from birth and affect the tongue’s range of motion. They occur when the skin that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short, thick, or tight. Labial ties (lip ties) work in a similar way, except they affect the tissue that connects the upper lip to your gums. Both can impede your child’s ability to breastfeed.

It’s important that your child be weaned from the bottle and switch to solid foods as early as 6 months. Prolonged bottle-feeding can delay your child’s ability to suck and swallow at the same time, which is important for proper breathing. Delayed weaning to solid foods results in diminished muscle function in the mouth.  

Temporary breathing problems such as allergies and nasal obstructions can also cause problems. Our bodies are designed to breathe and naturally compensate to make up for a lack of oxygen. This can lead to poor long-term breathing habits, which can be an especially serious problem in East Tennessee.

Low tongue rest posture is important since it can cut off your air and make it more difficult to breathe. This can occur naturally out of habit or as the result of other parafunctional habits such as thumbsucking.

Myofunctional Therapy in Knoxville, TN

At My Family Dentistry, we know that oral health can have a huge impact on your child’s overall health. What’s more, we understand that there’s more to their oral health than their teeth. OMDs can be detrimental to your child’s quality of life, and we’re dedicated to helping you live the life that they deserve

We do this by promoting proper tongue posture and the Buteyko Breathing Method. Together, they can create life-changing results.

Tongue Posture

Tongue posture can be the difference between deep, easy breathing and labored breaths. If positioned too low, your tongue can actually obstruct your breathing pathways. When positioned correctly, your child can experience:

Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible care for your child. We can equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to ensure that they reap the benefits of proper tongue placement.

The Buteyko Breathing Method

The Buteyko Breathing Method was pioneered by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko in the 1950s. He believed that certain respiratory issues, such as sleep apnea and asthma, are actually the result of hyperventilation. His suspicion was proven correct, and his method has helped countless people breathe easier. 

We will use the Buteyko Breathing Method to encourage nasal breathing in your child. When combined with proper tongue posture they will be able to breathe as nature intended. And the best part is it doesn’t require any special surgical procedures.

Children who have trouble breathing, talking, and swallowing may have a myofunctional disorder. Symptoms can include mouth breathing, facial pain, and stomach aches. They can have many causes, including allergies, low tongue posture, and allergies. With myofunctional therapy, we can restore your child’s breathing without the use of surgical procedures.

Are you interested in myofunctional therapy for your child? Schedule an appointment today and help your child breathe easier!

My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.

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