Breathing is an essential bodily function we do every minute of the day and night. But did you know how you breathe can impact the shape of your face and the accommodation of your teeth in your mouth?
Many people breathe through their mouths instead of their noses, negatively affecting their facial development. When the bones of your palate and face are misformed, you are more likely to have crooked teeth and find it increasingly difficult to breathe through your nose.
At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre (SHDC), we use MyoBrace treatment to correct the developmental effects of mouth breathing in children. But what is mouth breathing, and how does it affect your face? And what can MyoBrace treatment do for you?
What Is Mouth Breathing?
Mouth breathing is exactly what the term implies: breathing through your mouth. Instead of inhaling and exhaling through your nose, you bypass all of its essential structures and move air directly from your mouth, down your throat and into your lungs.
Your nose is not simply a physical feature on your face. Instead, it is perfectly designed for breathing. When you inhale through your nose, the air moves through the various structures and components within the nasal cavities to be warmed up or cooled down and cleansed, so it enters your lungs in the optimum state for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Mouth breathing may be a bad habit developed over time or because you struggle to breathe through your nose. Inadequate nasal breathing can be caused by frequent respiratory infections, inflammation in the nasal passages, enlarged adenoids, or a deviated septum.
Why Is Mouth Breathing Bad?
Mouth breathing can affect your health and well-being in numerous ways, including:
- Malformation of the facial bones
- Sleep disruption
- Sleep apnea
- Periodontal disease
- Speech impediments
- Forward posture
- Reduced nitric oxide synthesis (occurs in the sinuses)
What Does Mouth Breathing Do To Your Face?
A review study that examined the “Effects of mouth breathing on facial skeletal development in children” concluded that jaw underdevelopment could be caused by mouth breathing (1). They observed the following changes in the structure of the face in children who breathe through their mouths:
- Long, narrow face
- Narrow mouth
- High, narrow palate
- Crooked teeth
- Dental malocclusion: Your upper and lower jaw are misaligned.
At SHDC, we identify patients who are mouth breathers by assessing their tonsil size, soft tissues, and how they breathe through their noses. We look at whether their nose breathing is adequate and the degree of crowding in the teeth. We also look at structures such as the tongue to see whether they’re swallowing correctly or have any tongue or lip ties.
~ Dr Yin-Yin Teoh
Mouth breathing isn’t always apparent. You can determine if you or your child breathes through the mouth if you wake up in the morning with a dry mouth and bad breath or if your pillow is wet with drool. In children, mouth breathing is associated with behaviour problems that present similarly to ADHD.
Are The Effects Of Mouth Breathing Reversible?
With the appropriate treatment, preferably at a young age, the effects of mouth breathing can be reversed, and you can learn to breathe through your nose. For example, at SHDC, we use MyoBrace to correct facial deformities associated with mouth breathing.
Myobrace is a preventive pre-orthodontic treatment that addresses the underlying causes of crooked teeth, often without the need for braces, allowing for natural growth and development. All MyoBrace treatments at SHDC consist of two components:
#1 MyoBrace device
The first component is a series of dental aligners called MyoBrace, which come in varying sizes and degrees of hardness. We prescribe the appropriate appliance for each patient and determine when the patient needs to progress to the next one. Patients usually wear the device for an hour during the day and over overnight.
“The progression from one device to the next depends on the patient’s compliance and what their body development is capable of doing. So it’s a very fluid type of treatment.”
~ Dr Yin-Yin Teoh
#2 Myofunctional Exercises
Myofunctional exercises are a workout for the muscle in your face. They are done twice a day to support the effects of the MyBrace device. They involve teaching you to breathe effectively through your nose, and tongue, swallowing, lip and cheek exercises.
“The myofunctional exercises are used to correct the habits that caused the problem in the first place, breathing through the mouth.”
~ Dr Yin-Yin Teoh
What is myobrace treatment?
A solution to the mouth breathing issue in children is Myobrace.
Myobrace is preventive pre-orthodontic treatment that focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crooked teeth, often without the need for braces, allowing for natural growth and development.
Myobrace utilises soft mouth aligners, worn over a period of time to reposition the tongue and straighten the child’s teeth.
Myrobrace treatment consists of two components. The aligners and myofunctional exercises.
Myofunctional exercises are used to correct the problems that caused the breathing issues in the initial instance.
The Benefits Of MyoBrace Treatment
- Corrects the underlying causes of crooked teeth
- Noninvasive treatment
- Allows for the natural growth and development of the face and jaw
- Reduces the need for braces
- Increases likelihood that all thirty-two adult teeth will fit in the mouth
- Easy to use
- Improves sleep disturbances
- May improve behaviour problems in children
The Holistic Dentistry Approach at SHDC, Sydney
Treating children good habits at an early age is important.
Conclusions: MyoBrace Is An Effective Pre-Orthodontic Treatment For Crooked Teeth
A long face and crooked teeth are not simply flaws in a child’s appearance. They may be the result of mouth breathing which is associated with the malformation of facial structures, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.
MyoBrace treatment addresses the root cause of crooked teeth and can help reverse the effects of mouth breathing. The dental appliances combined with the myofacial exercises promote the natural growth and development of the jaw, avoiding the need for braces.
- Zhao Z, Zheng L, Huang X, Li C, Liu J, Hu Y. Effects of mouth breathing on facial skeletal development in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Oral Health. 2021 Mar 10;21(1):108. doi: 10.1186/s12903-021-01458-7. PMID: 33691678; PMCID: PMC7944632.
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