Myofunctional Therapy for Children
Myofunctional Therapy for children because the first steps are the most important. Imagine building a skyscraper on an unstable foundation or starting a garden without first preparing the soil. A bad start seriously affects the later work. But if it’s a good, solid start everything that follows is natural and easy.
The same holds true for oral health. The way a baby swallows, breathes and chews directly affects how the oral cavity, the shape of the face and the size of the airways develops.
Myofunctional therapy recognizes precursors to possible issues and through simple exercises can help children establish good habits and overall better health before unwanted conditions develop.
The tongue’s role in a child’s wellness starts the moment they are born. How it works while breastfeeding directly correlates with the development of facial muscles. How it rests inside the mouth determines the shape of the oral cavity. If the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth it can cause the jaws and palate to narrow which in turn diminishes the airway. Now we have a mouth breather, along with other issues.
Humans have evolved to breathe through their noses. Mouth breathing is actually a dysfunctional breathing pattern. Children who breathe through their mouth cause developmental changes that have lifelong effects. The biggest change is how the tongue rests in the mouth. When the mouth is open, the tongue rests low, meaning it’s unable to fulfill one of its major roles, guiding proper facial growth. It also means the tongue is not being used correctly while swallowing.
A healthy swallow should look like this: the tip of the tongue lightly touches the forward part of the roof of the mouth as the rest of the tongue affects a wave-like motion that sends food backwards towards the throat. Children with a condition called tongue thrust will push their tongue forward against their front teeth instead of the roof of their mouth. So, 700 times a day the tongue is pushing on the front of the teeth. Can you say misaligned teeth?
Bad habits like breathing through the mouth and swallowing with the tongue pushing on the front teeth can cause a variety of short and long-term issues, especially when the patterns begin at childhood.
What did our grandmother’s always say? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By addressing tiny issues during the early years, we can prevent major ones from showing up later. Myofunctional therapy can address the root cause and help children correct their bad habits safely, naturally, and painlessly.
Want to learn more about myofunctional therapy? Ready to set up an appointment? Call Southwest Myofunctional Therapy at (505) 218-6565.