What does dentistry have to do with airway and jaw development? Over the past few year’s we’ve been learning that there is a huge correlation between the jaw development and the development of the airway. We’ve been looking at things differently during our patient’s examinations. Things that we are looking for in our exams especially with children is how their jaw is developing. We want to look for spacing between all of their baby teeth. We want to see that they are able to breath through their nose well, and also make sure their tongue is not tied down to the floor of the mouth which is called a "tongue tie."
If we see a child that the arch of their mouth isn't broad or we see that there's no spacing between their teeth or even worse there is crowding in between the teeth, we are looking for the reasons why. So the first thing we want to do is look at the nasal breathing. Is the child able to breathe through their nose? If they can’t, it becomes a cascade of effects in their growth, development, and overall health.
We then have to ask ourselves why they can’t breath normally through their nose. Do they have an allergy to something? If so, we need to find out what so we can take care of that because if they can't breathe through their nose the tongue is never going to go to the right position. Try this at home, pinch your nose and put the tongue up on the roof of your mouth and then try and breathe. It's impossible, you can't do it. The tongue resting on the roof of the mouth is the body's natural expander. It's a strong muscle and presses out and presses forward. When it does that it grows the jaw. It actually makes the spacing in between our teeth and that's what we want. By doing that, we actually have a larger airway and can breathe better.
We're looking for nasal breathing, we're looking for the tongue to be mobile, and to be able to go up to the roof of the mouth. Things that you can look for at home are to look for spaces in between your child's teeth. We want to see spaces between them when they still have their baby teeth. See if they breathe through their nose. Take note when they are sitting, reading, or playing if you notice that their mouth is always open. If so, that's not normal, we want their lips to be closed. Also if they have a hard time saying certain words and they've been going to speech for a long time and they're not making any progress, it could be their tongue tie. I've had children that couldn't even eat ice cream cones because they couldn't stick their tongue out far enough, of course, they are going to have problems with their speech, but what can be much worse is the health problems that could potentially happen from these issues included stunted growth.
If your child is having any of those issues and you want us to take a look, we would love to see them for a comprehensive exam. We believe in preventative-based healthcare, and we work with a team of multidisciplinary doctors that can help get your child on an overall path to health and wellness.
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