Breathing through your nose does more than help you stop and smell the roses. In fact, how you breathe can affect everything from the quality of your sleep to weight management. If you struggle with nasal breathing then it may be time to consider myofunctional therapy.
There are multiple benefits of myofunctional therapy for nasal breathing. It can help strengthen and train your oral and facial muscles so you can breathe better. Those who need treatment may suffer from airway resistance, which prevents them from sleeping well and keeping their hormones in balance. These disorders can be present at birth or developed over time.
What is myofunctional therapy?
When people first hear about myofunctional therapy, the first thing they usually ask is “What is it?” Myofunctional therapy is officially defined as “neurologic re-education of the oral and facial muscles through a series of therapeutic techniques,” but that still leaves a lot to unpack for people who may benefit from this treatment.
Myofunctional therapy focuses on strengthening and training muscles to fight orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs). These disorders manifest themselves in your oral and facial muscles, hence the word “orofacial.” Muscles affected by OMDs are most commonly found in the lip, jaw, tongue, or throat.
This form of therapy helps with nasal breathing and a host of other issues. Strengthening your orofacial muscles can treat such unrelated problems as misaligned teeth, sleep apnea, trouble chewing, and problems swallowing. Nasal breathing is only one facet of all the ways myofunctional therapy can benefit you.
To learn more about the importance of nasal breathing, check out A Dental Hygienist’s Perspective on Myofunctional Therapy!
The Importance of Nasal Breathing
Nasal breathing is about more than breathing quietly — it also plays other important roles in your body. One major benefit of breathing through your nose is the release of nitric oxide, a colorless gas supplied by your paranasal sinuses.
It helps with:
- Natural pain management
- Supplying blood to your muscles
- Getting oxygen to the brain and body
- Airflow to your arteries, veins, and nerves
- Decreased risk of allergies
- Having a stronger diaphragm
- Less exposure to foreign substances
And that’s just to name a few benefits of nasal breathing.
Other Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy for Nasal Breathing
Nasal breathing is also important for getting healthy, restful sleep. Poor sleep can activate your body’s sympathetic nervous system and cause more stress. Breathing through your mouth makes it worse since it causes your tongue and jaw to rest further back while sleeping, making it harder to get air.
Breathing through your mouth can also affect your metabolism, leading to hormonal imbalances. Insulin can be affected and cause problems balancing your blood sugar. It can also cause you to eat more by interfering with leptin, the chemical that tells you to stop eating. Mouth breathing also causes you to create more ghrelin, the chemical that tells you that you’re hungry. In the end, you have the perfect recipe for gaining weight that’s much harder to get rid of.
Symptoms of Myofunctional Problems
There are many symptoms that can indicate a myofunctional problem. They can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Mouth breathing
- Facial pain
- Tongue thrusting
- Limited tongue mobility
- Sleep apnea
- Messy eating
- Misaligned teeth
- Stomach aches
- Speech issues
- Trouble swallowing
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Large anterior or posterior open bites
- Parafunctional habits (using your teeth for reasons other than their intended purpose)
Some people are more likely to experience these symptoms than others. For some, they’re due to a problem present at birth. On the other hand, they can also be the result of poor habits that were never corrected.
Those who experience myofunctional issues tend to experience:
- Lingual ties
- Labial ties
- Nasal obstructions
- Low tongue rest posture
- Prolonged thumbsucking
- Prolonged bottle-feeding
- TMD issues
This list is far from exhaustive. Talk to our team about other problems people with OMD may face.
Lingual and labial ties are present at birth and affect the mouth’s range of motion and function. For lingual ties, this affects the tongue when the skin connecting it to the floor of the mouth is too short, tight, or thick. Labial ties affect the tissue that connects the upper lip or lower lip to the gums in a similar way. This can cause an array of issues and delayed or improper skeletal growth.
You can also develop myofunctional problems from nasal obstructions and allergies that interfere with nasal breathing. While obstructions and allergies may be temporary, compensating for them can turn into long-term breathing habits that are hard to break.
Low tongue rest posture can make it more difficult to breathe by cutting off your air supply. It can happen naturally due to poor habits, but it may also be caused by a parafunctional habit such as thumbsucking. Low TRP Causes so many more issues with skeletal growth.
Some bad habits start long before we even realize what we’re doing. In some cases, people aren’t weaned off the bottle soon enough as babies. Prolonged bottle-feeding prevents children from learning to suck and swallow at the same time, which is important for nasal breathing and regular chewing function.
TMD issues affect the temporomandibular joint in your jaw that helps you talk and chew. When not working properly, it can cause multiple problems including jaw pain, recurring headaches, and popping in your jaw when eating. Having a malocclusion means that you have crooked teeth or a poor bite, which can cause speech issues and even affect the appearance of your face.
Click here to read more about the symptoms and signs of myofunctional problems!
Myofunctional Therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee
My Family Dentistry is your source for myofunctional therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee. We understand the importance of nasal breathing and the roles it plays in your overall health. Myofunctional problems can be harmful to your health and quality of life, and we’re dedicated to helping you breathe and sleep easier.
We have a variety of tools at our disposal to help both children and adults with their muscle function. Our primary goals are to help patients achieve their individual goals and live happier, healthier lives.
Working toward these goals helps you break the habits you’ve developed to compensate for not breathing through your nose. The time spent in therapy can vary from 5 months to a year depending on how consistent you are. You may also require special appliances to help complete your therapy.
Are you interested in how myofunctional therapy can improve your life? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.