Orofacial Myology / Speech Therapy
By Carolinda “Trini” Myers-Murphy, MS CCC- SLP, COM
Does your child breathe with his/her mouth open? Not everyone breathes properly. Recent research indicates that the way your child breathes can have a great impact on his or her future health and physical appearance. As an orofacial myologist, one of the first things we look for is how your child is breathing.
When a child breathes through his mouth, he circumvents nature’s filter apparatus and places greater strain on the heart and lungs, due to the presence of minute impurities in the air. Consequently, mouth breathing position tends to alter muscle function, which affects growth of the face and results in an unusually long, narrow appearance. In addition, the jaws tend to grow apart rather than together, forcing the tongue to be held lower in the mouth than normal. This can cause a narrowing of the upper dental arch and abnormal positions of all teeth, which affects the bite as well as physical appearance.
Mouth breathing is generally caused by one or more of three types of problems: 1) Enlarged adenoids. 2) Underdeveloped nasal passages 3) Nasal blockage caused by allergies, swollen tissue, or other obstructions such as polyps.
Recent research has given doctors more effective methods of diagnosing and treating mouth breathing. Special standardized x-rays can analyze, by computer, to determine the size of the tonsils and adenoid tissue that contribute to the mouth breathing problems. If the tonsils and adenoids are at fault, it may be desirable to remove them. However, this must be weighed carefully for each individual, since the tonsils and adenoids are a part of the body’s immune system.
If results indicate that the tonsils and adenoids are not a problem, it can then be determined if your child’s breathing might be aided by myofunctional therapy and orthodontic treatment. The problem may be corrected before it seriously affects facial development.
At Speech Solutions Hawaii, we pay attention to your child’s airway because function is influenced by form, and form influences function.
Keep your child healthy and well. Start with breathing through the nose and the benefits will surprise you!