Constantly breathing through your mouth can be linked to many health problems. From a young age we are taught to walk and talk; learning to breathe properly is just as important. The nose is designed to transfer nitric oxide, oxygen and necessary carbon dioxide into our sinuses and throughout our bodies. When we do not have the oxygen molecules our bodies need, a long-lasting disturbance to our natural mechanics will be affected. Extended mouth breathing often turns into snoring, sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea has been getting more and more attention the past several years. More physicians are referring to sleep specialists and it turns out sleep apnea is more common than you would think.
In the past, it was often thought to affect older men or over-weight individuals. Now, through better research, we know sleep apnea can affect anyone - thin, fit, over-weight, young, old, men and women.
Sleep apnea will affect many areas of our general health and well-being. Sleep apnea has been shown to be even more prevalent in children while being linked to attention disorders such as ADHA/ADD, lower IQ scores, developmental delays, and possibly slowing a child's "normal" growth pattern.
The Systemic Connection
Mouth breathing will cause a disturbance to our entire body's natural mechanics. Research shows a direct relationship with mouth breathing and ...
Gingivitis and gum disease
Sore throat and cold symptoms
Increased risk of dental cavities
Changes in proper sleep patterns & sleep apnea
In adults, lack of proper oxygen concentrations in the blood can cause high blood pressure, heart problems.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
With some similarity to obstructive sleep apnea because of the involvement of soft tissues including the nasal cavity, soft palate, uvula, tongue, and pharnyx but people who suffer from UARS generally don’t stop breathing for long enough for their arousals to show up on a conventional sleep study like they would for Sleep Apnea.
Muscles of the Airway
When the muscles of the airway relax, the size of the airway is reduced. This can cause a restriction (or resistance) to the airflow moving in and out of the lungs. The human body can sense the danger in not getting enough oxygen and will react by causing a short arousal or awakening state. This arousal is used to increase the respiratory effort and restore breathing. Even though this brief interruption from sleep may not be at all noticed by the sleeper, it will interrupt healthy and natural sleep patterns. Usually this happens multiple times per hour throughout the night.
Sleep Apnea: Why Myo?
A combination of treatment recommendations can be given on an individual level. Oral myofunctional exercises are non-invasive and a wonderful adjective therapy to support the airway! By helping to strengthen and retrain dysfunctional oral and facial muscles, we help protect the airway. This makes the upper airway less likely to relax and collapse during sleep, reducing the likelihood of sleep disordered breathing symptoms. Having stronger airway muscles also help your ability to tolerate CPAP machines and/or oral appliances as prescribed by your doctor.
Collaboration is Key
It is important to remember I’m not a dentist nor a medical doctor. I cannot diagnose any of these conditions. With my extensive training, I am very aware of the signs and symptoms and proper screening protocols intended for all airway based professionals. I will always recommend that my patients talk to their doctor or dentist, about having a sleep test done and support their needs once a diagnosis has been done.