Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders In Children

From tongue thrust to tongue tie, there are several disorders affecting specific facial features among children. These are known as orofacial myofunctional disorders.

myofunctional disorders in childrens, tongue-tie kids, tongue tie adults, sleep apnea, braces relapse

Orofacial myofunctional disorders are muscular problems in the face, mouth, jaw and lips. They can adversely impact a child’s ability to speak, eat or swallow.  Orofacial myofunctional disorders are extremely common among children. They are primarily due to abnormal positioning of the lips, jaw or tongue during speech and/or swallowing.

A child’s tongue may lie too far forward during rest or stick out between the upper and lower teeth during speech, swallowing or rest. This may cause unwanted pressure on the teeth and can take a toll on the dental alignment and jaw growth.

The causes of orofacial myofunctional disorders

Broadly speaking a child may develop orofacial myofunctional disorders due to thumb sucking, finger sucking, excessive use of pacifier, genetics, orofacial muscular and structural differences or upper airway obstruction.

Symptoms to watch out for

If you suspect your child is affected by orofacial myofunctional disorder, check for these signs:

  • Chronic or persistent open mouth positioning
  • Sleep distortion (frontal lisp)
  • Dental issues
  • Tongue thrust
  • Tongue tie

What Can Be Done

A myofunctional therapist can evaluate your child’s face and mouth structure to determine whether they have orofacial myofunctional disorder.  Along with a physical examination, they will observe the way your child speaks, eats and swallows food.

It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible if your child is suffering from the disorder.  In addition, orofacial myofunctional disorders may negatively affect children’s self-esteem and shatter their confidence. This is because the affected children look, speak and swallow differently than other children. Naturally, they may become conscious about their appearance.

Myofunctional therapy is a natural therapy plan for strengthening orofacial muscles and restoring the proper functioning of the face, lips, mouth and jaws.

It is safer than surgery and does not have side effects, unlike medication.

If you need a trained and caring myofunctional therapist, get in touch with Olga Fazlyeva at Connected Dots.

She offers myofunctional therapy services online, via Skype. After assessing a child’s condition during a 30-minute consultation, she recommends the correct therapy plan.

In addition, she offers flexible payment plans and a great discount for therapy of more than two family members.

No matter where you live, you can easily schedule and access myofunctional therapy sessions at Connected Dots from the comfort of your home.

Book a 30-minute free consultation now!

Myofunctional Therapy: Sleep Apnea and Tongue-Tie

Are you suffering from a restless sleep? Have you had a disturbed sleep for years?  Well, recent research has highlighted that this restlessness may be because of sleep apnea, which is a result of an unusual condition called tongue-tie (ankyloglossia).

131572-849x565r1-TiredWhat is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep apnea—this has nothing to do with the airway being blocked. This occurs when the brain fails to send a signal to breathe to the muscles. Because the respiratory control center is unstable, breathing becomes a problem.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea— this occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. The soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses as the person sleeps, reducing or completely stopping his/her airflow.  Myofunctional therapy is recommended for this kind of sleep apnea.

What is Ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie or a short frenum, is an abnormal condition, which restricts the mobility of the tongue.  Tongue-tie occurs when the lingual frenum is short.

Everyone has a frenum—a piece of tissue under the tongue that tethers it to the floor of the mouth. When it is of the right length, it has elastic properties and does not interrupt with the movement of the tongue when sucking, eating, talking, and clearing of the teeth to prepare for swallowing.

However, when a person has a short lingual frenum, it has a negative effect on the person’s oral development. The person with a tongue-tie will have difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth and shifting it from side to side. They will not be able to stick out their tongue past their lower teeth and will have trouble while eating, speaking, licking, and swallowing. A person with a short lingual frenum has a tongue that is heart-shaped or that appears notched. You can read more about tongue tie here

jorge-rosal-556597-unsplashWhy does the position of the tongue matter?

The position of the tongue is very important. The tongue is a powerful muscle that can change the shape of your face and teeth, and the way you talk and breathe.

To have the correct facial feature, the tongue needs to be in the right position. The correct posture for the tongue is when your lips are touching each other (without straining); your tongue is relaxed along the palate, with the rear end of the tongue pulled back and the tip of the tongue resting behind the top front teeth (not pushing it).

If the tongue is not placed like this and is putting pressure on the bottom part of the mouth, the maxilla— upper jaw bone— changes structure, resulting in a long and narrow shaped face. The lack of pressure from the tongue pushes the cheeks inside and cause the teeth to crowd.

Other than this, the position of the tongue matters because it can cause breathing problems, including sleep apnea.

The short lingual frenum leads to a restricted use of the tongue and a lower placement of it in the mouth. Both these conditions are linked to an altered palate development, disproportionate growth of the lower jaw and lack of mid face development. Together, all of these results in the development of a smaller airway, which is more prone to collapse during sleep, causing obstructive sleep apnea.

What does research say about sleep apnea and tongue-tie?

As an online myofunctional therapist, I have experienced many patients who suffer from both sleep apnea and ankyloglossia. Recently, research has started showing a link between the two problems, which has given my therapy scientific evidence.

In 2015, a study, published in the International Journal of Pediatric Research, highlighted that children aged 2-17 with a tongue-tie condition had orofacial features, which put them at risk of a collapsed upper airway.  Children with a short lingual frenum were more likely to engage in mouth breathing that increases upper airway resistance and inflamed tonsils, both of which can cause sleep apnea. The mouth breathing further worsens orofacial features, which is why it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.

You can read full study here

What can be done if you have tongue-tie and sleep apnea ?

Tongue-tie is a condition that exists since birth. If untreated, it can cause many problems, which worsen as the person grows older. The most common treatment for Ankyloglossia is lingual frenectomy—a surgical procedure in which the frenum is removed.

However, many researches, including the one mentioned above, indicate that surgery alone is not a good option. As the child from birth holds the tongue in one position, he develops a habit of mouth breathing and lowered tongue position, which cannot be solved just by surgery.  This is where my service as a practicing myofunctional therapist comes in.

As an online myofunctonal therapist, I engage my clients in exercises that help in the correct placement of tongue and that allow for proper breathing.

However, I am a strong believer of individualized treatment plans and, therefore, I work with my client’s doctor every step of the way to come up with the right treatment program, exercises, and correct diagnosis.

My therapy caters to both adults and children from all over the world.

Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation.


Your face will change without plastic surgery!

Did you know that the structure of your face can change shape even without plastic surgery? The location of your tongue and the way you breathe play a huge role in shaping your facial features.

The correct mouth posture

The correct mouth posture is crucial to have the perfect facial structure. The correct posture is where your lips are touching each other, your top and bottom molars are pressed together, and your tongue is plastered to your palate.

Causes of  face structure alterations

without plastic surgery, no face wrinkles, face yoga near me, mouth breathing, myofunctional therapy

A change in facial structure is a result of two things—mouth breathing and tongue placement. Both work together to alter face structure.

In mouth breathing, the tongue is placed at the bottom of the mouth or in the middle of the mouth. This negatively affects the development of the maxilla—the upper jaw bone. Instead of the normal U-shaped maxilla, the downward pressure of the tongue results in a V-shaped maxilla, which results in a long and narrow shaped face.

The tongue is a powerful muscle. When it does not touch your palate, your cheek muscles hollow-in because the tongue is not putting enough pressure to hold them out. The sunk-in cheeks push the teeth together, which causes crowding.

Picture resource: http://ryan-koch.blogspot.com

myofunctional therapy for narrow arch, thumb sucking, tongue tie

Mouth breathing can be a result of allergies, which block the nose and force individuals to breathe through their mouths.

Other reasons why you might develop a different face structure are the use of Sippy cups and pacifiers as kids. These things also cause your tongue to press on the bottom of the mouth.

How myofunctional therapy can help?without plastic surgery, no face wrinkles, face yoga near me

Many people assume that face structure can be altered through braces. However, many orthodontists noticed that using braces was not having a long-lasting effect on their patients.

This is why I recommend opting for myofunctional therapy. In this, trained therapists, like myself, teach clients exercises for proper tongue placement, breathing, chewing and swallowing.

Myofunctional problems can start at a very young age. For this reason, I work with both adults and children.  Do not wait for your child to grow older; the sooner you address the issue the better it will be as children have a more flexible facial structure.

Depending on age and cause, exercises should be tailored to meet individual needs, which is why I prefer making personalized treatment plans for my clients. I devise this plan after I assess my client under a 30-minute free consultation. If I feel he/she needs therapy, I devise a treatment plan and move ahead with treatment.

Myofunctional therapy promises long-lasting and harmless treatment effects. So, if you want to receive therapy from the comfort of your home, contact me for Skype sessions.

Atopic Dermatitis from Mouth Breathing?

atopic dermatitis therapy, myofunctional therapy for mouth breathing, mouth breathing, mouth breathing myofunctional, atopic dermatitis and mouth breather, dermatitis and mouth breathing

Is your child suffering from atopic dermatitis? Does he feel itchy all the time? Have you also started noticing that he sleeps with his mouth open? Are you wondering what his atopic dermatitis has to do with his open mouth? Well, read below and see how the two are related.

What is mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing occurs when you use your mouth alone or the mouth and nose, instead of just the nose to breathe for longer than 6 months.  It is okay to rely on the mouth for breathing in some instances; however, relying on it always can cause many health problems.

You can read more about mouth breathing here

Are you a mouth breather?

To check if you are a mouth breather look out for these symptoms: snoring, dry mouth after waking up, bad breath (halitosis), open mouth while chewing, open mouth throughout the day, waking up tired and irritable, daytime sleepiness, and more…

Mouth breathing vs. Nose breathing

We have two air passageways to our lungs—the nose and the mouth. Why is breathing through your nose better than breathing through your mouth?

Well, the nose is a natural filter. It prevents the small particles in the air that irritate the lungs from entering. It also adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness in the lungs—this prevents you from heaving and coughing again and again.  Breathing from the mouth does not allow any of this which is why it is bad.

Why is mouth breathing bad?

Mouth breathing has many detrimental effects that can lead to Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, which may cause problems in functions that require the tongue—chewing, sucking, breathing and swallowing.

The lower placement of the tongue in mouth breathing results in facial deformity— a V-shaped maxilla, a narrow and long face, sunk-in cheeks, small lower jaw, and a weak chin— and crooked teeth.

“In addition, mouth breathing might be associated with skin diseases,given its previously demonstrated relationships with periodontal disease and enlarged tonsils… In addition, Valeraet al. reported that children aged 3–6 years with enlarged tonsils had a significantly increased risk of mouth breathing. Streptococcal tonsillitis is associated with psoriasis……However, no population-based studies have investigated the relationship between mouth breathing and the prevalence of pediatric diseases, including atopic dermatitis,which is a highly prevalent skin disease in children.” (Yamaguchi et al. 2015)

Atopic Dermatitis

I am sure you have heard about the above-mentioned consequences of mouth breathing, but have you heard about its relation to atopic dermatitis?  Yeah, even I was as surprised when I first experienced such a situation. Here is how the two work together.

The relationship between atopic dermatitis and mouth breathing has become popular in recent research. In 2015, a Japanese research was published. It conducted a survey on 600 subjects and found that a strong association between the two exists. Mouth breathing— day and night—was consistently paired with atopic dermatitis, even after controlling for other variables.

If a person cannot breathe through the nose, the body automatically resorts to its only other source—the mouth.

The major causes of nasal congestion include allergies/food sensitivities, asthma and hay fever (inflammation in the nose)—the three main symptoms of atopic Dermatitis.

Atopic Dermatitis is an itchy skin condition that is common among children, but can occur at an older age as well.  It is prevalent among those who have ‘atopic tendencies’— those who have a genetic predisposition to asthma and hay fever.

The implication of this research was that if mouth breathing is shown to contribute to atopic dermatitis, then steps should be taken to avoid mouth breathing to prevent atopic dermatitis.

You can read full study article here

How to treat mouth breathing?

To avoid these problems, all you have to do is start breathing through your nose. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. If you are used to breathing through your mouth, you cannot break the habit overnight. You need to retrain the muscles of the mouth – including the tongue.

This is where my service as a practicing myofunctional therapist comes in. As a trained therapist, my aim is to teach my clients the correct facial posture, which includes proper breathing patterns and correct placement of the tongue.  The online myofunctional therapy exercises that I use enable my clients to change their open mouth posture to one where both the lips touch each other without straining.

My therapy caters to both adults and children from all over the world.

Book a 30-minute free consultation now!