Myofunctional Therapy is an exercise program used to correct the improper function of the muscles of the tongue, lips, cheeks and throat. Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) are most commonly identified by your dentist.
The Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy
The purpose of myofunctional therapy is to establish good oral rest posture. When we are resting, sleeping, basically any time other than eating or talking, our lips need to be sealed together (to prevent mouth breathing!), the tongue needs to be resting ENTIRELY on the roof of your mouth, and breathing needs to be exclusively through your nose. Ideally, this oral posturing is learnt in early childhood but for many different reasons many of us fail to develop healthy oral habits.
Uncorrected, OMDs can contribute to:
- Improper growth and development of the jaws (Narrow Palate)
- Scalloped and coated tongue
- TMJ pain and tension
- Mouth breathing habits
- Airway and breathing issues (such as Sleep Apnea)
- Acid reflux
- Attention Deficits
- Tooth grinding, clenching and wear
- Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
- Early tooth loss and breakdown
- Relapse of orthodontic treatment.
It is important to evaluate children for the signs of tethered oral tissues ( “tongue ties”) since early detection can aid in the prevention and development of orofacial myofunctional disorders. In order for tongues to function properly they need:
- Good posture (resting completely suctioned to the palate)
- Tone (good muscle strength to create a bolus and swallow)
- Space (the dental arch needs to be wide enough to accommodate the entire tongue comfortably).
Working with a certified orofacial myofunctional therapist may provide you with holistic support for sleep-disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea. We refer out patients to Laura Barlow. If you have any questions, please contact our office at (303) 499-0367