Mouth Breathing

Wendy Parker, RDH

Mouth Breathing

          Many people believe that mouth breathing isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just the way they have learned to breathe.  But after years of study and research, mouth breathing have been linked to several other conditions as well.

Mouth breathing usually occurs due to 5 factors:

  1. Allergies
  2. Thumb or finger sucking habit
  3. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  4. Chronic nasal congestion
  5. Respiratory infection

These factors make it physically challenging for someone to breath through their nose, so the natural reaction is to start breathing through their mouth.  Mouth breathing can cause a few things to happen in the mouth: it can change the way your shape of your face, you can develop a tongue thrust affecting your speech, swallowing and breathing, you can develop gingivitis or gum disease and gums will bleed easily, sore throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor sleep or sleep apnea, and digestive disturbances (upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.) Mouth breathing stops our bodies from getting good oxygenated blood to the circulation system and can affect the whole body.

It’s not easy to just change the way you breathe.  You have to retrain your brain and muscles to breathe normally again.  A myofunctional therapist can be valuable by giving you tactics to retrain your muscles associated with mouth breathing.  You can also have your tonsils evaluated to see if they need to be removed or see an orthodontist to evaluated your bite and if the teeth are obstructing you from closing properly.  Or you may try a humidifier at night or rub vitamin E oil or vasoline over the gums before bedtime to help them from drying out.

Hopefully you can find some relief from this condition!  If you need more tips or tricks, don’t be afraid to ask your lovely hygienist or dentist at your next appointment!

 

Sources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/mouth-breather/

http://www.myfaceology.com/2012/02/mouth-breathing-and-how-it-affects-your-health/

http://ic.steadyhealth.com/problems-of-mouth-breathing

Oral Parafunctional Habits

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Becky Larson, RDH

Oral Parafunctional Habits

We all need to move our jaw and teeth to do normal everyday activities such eating, talking, and breathing.  However, some individuals use their teeth and/or jaw for other purposes, which are not considered normal activities.  A para-functional habit is the habitual exercise of a body part in a way other than the most common use of that body part.  Some oral para-functional habits include clenching or grinding the teeth (bruxism), tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking.  Oral para-functional habits can cause problems with the teeth and/or jaw and should be addressed as soon as they are discovered.

Clenching or grinding of the teeth is referred to as bruxism.  Teeth are meant to clench and grind during the process of mastication (eating) but not in the absence of food.  Occasional teeth grinding doesn’t usually cause harm.  However, grinding on a regular basis can cause extensive damage to the teeth as well as other oral health complications.  Grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety but occurs most often during sleep.  Because of this, most people are unaware they grind their teeth.  Symptoms of bruxism include a dull, constant headache and/or a sore jaw upon waking up.  Usually a spouse or loved one will also hear the grinding at night.   Your dentist can examine your teeth and jaw for signs of bruxism.  Chronic teeth grinding can result in tooth fractures, loosening of the teeth, tooth loss, or teeth worn down to stumps.  In these cases the dentist may place bridges, crowns, implants or perform root canals.  Severe grinding can cause pain in the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint).  Wearing a mouth guard while you sleep can prevent excessive wear on the teeth.  Having a custom fit mouth guard is the best option as it is made from impressions your own teeth.  While a mouth guard does not stop the clenching and grinding from happening, it prevents wear on the teeth by putting a barrier between the biting surfaces of the teeth.  Usually mouth guards will last a few years before needing to be replaced.

Tongue thrusting is where the tongue protrudes near or through the front teeth during swallowing, speech, or while the tongue is at rest.  The correct position of the tongue should be on the roof of the mouth (or palate) when swallowing.  Symptoms of tongue thrusting include:

  • Dental malocclusion (teeth don’t align correctly)
  • Poor facial development
  • Mouth breathing
  • Periodontal problems
  • Other oral para-functional habits (bruxism and/or thumb sucking)
  • Drooling
  • Limited tolerance to food textures or limited diet
  • Difficulty swallowing pills
  • High palatal arch

Tongue thrusting can also be related to thumb sucking.  Children often begin sucking thumbs or fingers at an early age.  It is a reflex that provides comfort and relaxation and as such, many children practice this habit while sleeping.  While this habit is generally stopped around 2-4 years of age, some children continue thumb or finger sucking into elementary school.  Most dentists will advise to break this habit before permanent teeth begin to erupt.  Pacifiers are great substitutes for thumbs and fingers because they can be taken away at the necessary time.  Both tongue thrusting and thumb sucking can be detrimental to the development of facial structures, jaw and teeth.

Please talk with your dentist if you are experiencing problems with any of these para-functional habits.  He or she can recommend treatment to help prevent un-necessary tooth damage.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/parafunction

http://orthowny.com/parafunctional_habits/

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism#1

http://tonguethrust.weebly.com/

Early Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

Early Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

Often time’s orthodontic treatment is recommended before all of your child’s primary (baby) teeth have even fallen out. Early orthodontic treatment can alleviate future, possibly more invasive, orthodontic corrections.

Here are a few reasons for early interceptive treatment:

  • Corrective positioning for a better prognosis of how the permanent teeth with develop.
  • To correct any oral habits that cause developmental problems such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, and tongue thrusting.
  • To correct malocclusions, or poor bite relationships, such as overbites, under bites, open bites, cross bites, crowding, spacing, teeth erupting out of sequence, or missing teeth.
  • To correct growth problems such as narrow palates.
  • To guide the growth of the jaw bones to a more favorable position for permanent tooth eruption.

“The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children receive an orthodontic screening by the age 7. Permanent teeth generally begin to come in at age 6 or 7. It is at this point that orthodontic problems become apparent.”

If you are unsure about the need for early interceptive orthodontic treatment for your child, it is a good idea to visit with an orthodontist to familiarize yourself with treatment options. If you are concerned with the appearance or development of your child’s teeth, or if you have questions please do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options and referral information.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/early-orthodontics/article/early-orthodontics-may-mean-less-treatment-later