crucial role of facial muscles

The Crucial Role of the Facial Muscles

Dr Devine Myofunctional Therapy

Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Most people don’t realize the importance of how the facial muscles, jaw, and tongue work together. It is crucial for these three components to work together, properly. By working in harmony, these components help to facilitate the right amount of airflow, assist with chewing and swallowing food, speaking, and help guide the jaws during a child’s growth and development phase.

Our Myofunctional Therapist in Nashville at Devine Dentistry wants you to know about the crucial role the facial muscles, jaw, and tongue play in relation to oral health, and especially for a child’s growth and development.

Why is good oral posture important?

Good or optimal oral posture is classified as the lips pressed gently together, with the tongue resting against the roof of the mouth, and breathing nasally. This oral posture is important because it stimulates the growth of the jaw and upper palate during a child’s development. Also, this favorable oral posture facilitates an open airway, which decreases the likeliness of obstructive sleep apnea.

Why is proper oral posture a problem in society today?

Bottle-feeding has become the norm in our society. While it is needed in certain situations, it isn’t helping children learn how to develop proper oral posture. Artificial nipples cause a baby to alter the positioning of their tongue from along the upper palate to low in the mouth. In comparison, breastfeeding causes a baby to hold their mouth in such a way to create a seal, forcing them to breathe nasally. Bottle feeding, however, teaches a baby to breathe nasally, which can linger into adulthood.

Furthermore, our society believes that babies should be fed mushy food from a jar or pouch at around the age of six months. This mushy food teaches the baby to swallow improperly and does not work the jaw muscles and the tongue. Over time, the upper jaw lacks enough support to develop to its full potential, often leading to mouth breathing.

Mouth breathing vs. nasal breathing

A child may be a mouth breather due to allergens related to milk, gluten, or other chronic inflammation of the nasal passages such as enlarged adenoids. However, nasal breathing is the the physicological correct way to breathe. If a child is unable to breathe through their nose due to inflammation, they will breathe through the mouth, which results in the tongue resting low in the mouth as the lower jaw hangs open.

Because of this oral posture, the midface will cease development, creating an elongated face. Later in life issues such as obstructive sleep apnea, or TMJ disorder may develop, which come packed with a whole other set of health issues. Crowded teeth also develop, along with a small mouth that later results in the need for tooth extractions and braces, never actually correcting the root of the problem, which is an underdeveloped lower jaw!

This is where myofunctional therapy in the Nashville area comes in handy. Myofunctional therapy uses a series of exercises to retrain the oral muscles as well as the tongue. The goal is to achieve proper oral resting posture, as well as encourage nasal breathing. If you have exhibited mouth breathing in your child, chronically, not just when they have a cold, then myofunctional therapy may be the answer.

Myofunctional Therapy for Mouth Breathing in Nashville

If you would like to learn more about myofunctional therapy, please contact Devine Dentistry by calling (615) 269-4209 to schedule a consultation.

Devine Dentistry welcomes patients of Nashville including the Belle Meade and Green Hills areas.