Chewing and swallowing (tongue thrust) issues
The orofacial muscles—the muscles of the mouth, jaw, neck and face—are involved in some of the most basic and important activities of our day-to-day lives, including breathing, chewing and speech.
Chewing and swallowing seem like second nature to most of us. However, the proper functioning of these processes requires a number of different elements to work in harmony. For a number of reasons, many young children do not develop the correct motor function patterns when it comes to breathing and chewing.
- Swallowing: The act of swallowing depends on the correct interaction between the muscles of the face, tongue and throat. Considering we swallow approximately 2000 times per day, it’s important these muscles are working correctly.
- Chewing: Many children are messy eaters, chewing on one side of their jaw, with their mouth open, ending up with food around their mouths. Chewing issues can affect the way their face and jaw develops and should be addressed early on.
- Mouth breathing: Children often mouth-breathe. Mouth breathers will have an open mouth posture (lips parted), forward head and shoulder posture. Mouth breathing affects children’s growth and development, causing crooked teeth and crowded mouths.
- Tongue thrust: A very common orofacial myofunctional disorder, “tongue thrust” occurs when a child pushes the tongue against or between the teeth when swallowing and at rest, which can contribute to poor growth and development of the orofacial muscles and can often lead to crowded mouths and crooked teeth.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy addresses these issues by training a child’s facial and tongue muscles to function in an optimal way.
Through non-invasive, exercise-based techniques, children learn to chew, swallow and breathe correctly, allowing the orofacial muscles to develop properly and reducing the future need for extensive dental treatment.
Rochelle works with children experiencing breathing, chewing and tongue thrust issues. Make an appointment to discuss the issues and a treatment program for your child.