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What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is a sequence of highly effective Physical Therapy exercises which help to establish Nasal Breathing, Lip Seal, Correct Swallowing Pattern, and Optimal Resting Tongue Posture.
Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy
The goals of Myofunctional Therapy include retraining muscles of the tongue, lips, and jaw to obtain optimal resting posture. This therapy helps facilitate proper nasal/diaphragm breathing. The nose’s primary function is to inhale oxygen, while filtering, warming, and moisturizing the air. Mouth breathing affects the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide that are in the body. Our bodies rely on a specific amount of incoming oxygen and outgoing carbon dioxide to remain in a healthy state.
Mouth breathing can also make the lips and mouth dry for loss of humidity. When we breathe through our mouths cold, unfiltered air can predispose us to xerostomia (dry mouth), cough, allergies, frequent colds, gum disease and cavities.The process of nasal breathing also plays a profound role in the growth and development of our face, mouth, and airways.
Myofunctional therapy has been found to have the following benefits:
- More balanced mood
- Clearer thinking
- Healthy energy
- Straighter teeth
- Better facial symmetry
- Reduction in problems with Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Increased muscle tone and ability to move oral and facial muscles properly
- Correct use of oral structures to aid in breathing, swallowing, eating and drinking
Why does Myofunctional Therapy Matter?
The habits we develop in our youth translate to learned habits and behaviors later in life. By training the muscles in the face to act in their optimal biological way, muscle memory can keep the teeth and jaw in alignment as we grow and develop (in many cases eliminating the need for future orthodontics).
Frequently Asked Questions
What improvements might I notice in my health if I practice Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional therapy may benefit those who suffer from a variety of ailments, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
- Neck pain
- Thumb sucking
- Nail biting
Can myofunctional therapy help me even if I don’t have sleep apnea?
Absolutely! Myofunctional therapy is behavioral intervention and neuromuscular retraining. Think of it like physical therapy to re-pattern chewing, swallowing and breathing and also to address dysfunctional resting posture and facial muscle movements.