What is the Connection Between Hypertension and Sleep Apnea?

There is a sympathetic (emergency) response in the body every time an apnea or hypopnea occurs. This causes your heart rate and blood pressure increase. OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) patients have hundreds of events per night, thus the body remains in a constant state of elevated air pressure.

Another connection between hypertension and sleep apnea is the fact that when suffering from sleep apnea, your body isn’t getting sufficient oxygen and therefore doesn’t convert enough of it to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator and without it, blood vessels tend to narrow. The endothelial lining of the arteries breaks down, making them more susceptible to plaque and fatty tissues building up. Narrow arteries with high risk of blockage leads to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

OSA increases hypertension risk by 45%.

Sleep Apnea and Hypertension Info

What is the Connection Between Excessive Sleepiness and Sleep Apnea?

Frequently when your body pulls you out of an apneic event, it is accompanied by a micro-arousal. A micro-arousal doesn’t necessarily wake you up from sleep, but it pulls you out of whatever sleep stage you were in. The result is a disrupted sleep pattern and insufficient amounts of sleep. In these kinds of situations, people do not feel rested in the morning because

People with untreated sleep apnea are twelve times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident.

What is the Connection Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring happens when the back of your tongue and throat relax and restrict airflow. Snoring is caused by passing air through a small hole, which then causes the tissues to vibrate and make a “snoring” sound. Someone who “just snores”, who gains a few pounds, or who has a few alcoholic drinks could become someone with sleep apnea. An association between habitual snoring and electrocardiographic changes and arrhythmias has been reported.

More Snoring Information

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and hypertension.

Factors that contribute to these symptoms can be obesity, large neck circumference, menopause, mouth breathing, and medical family history.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea may include acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), morning headaches, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, social problems, memory problems, alzheimer’s/dementia, dental symptoms (including abfractions from nocturnal bruxism, and nocturia.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Information

What Does Oxygen Saturation have to do with Obstructed Sleep Apnea?

Oxygen saturation measures how much hemoglobin is currently bound to oxygen compared to how much hemoglobin remains unbound. When your body repeatedly stops breathing due to obstructive sleep apnea, it inhibits the body’s ability to produce oxygen. It typically becomes concerning if oxygen levels in the body fall below 90%. To put this in a little bit more context, hospitals will typically put oxygen masks on their patients when oxygen levels drop below 92%. It is not uncommon to see people with OSA drop into the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s, and even 50’s range, which shows just how severe obstructive sleep apnea can be.

The reason that low oxygen saturation is so dangerous is because it can lead to irreversible brain damage, heart attack, or stroke.

Oxygen Saturation

What Are the Stages of Sleep?

There are two main types of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM (non-rapid eye movement). REM sleep occupies about 25% of our time while non-REM occupies about 75%. Each sleep cycle throughout the night lasts for about 90 minutes.

Once you are in non-REM sleep, there are four main stages. Stage one is often referred to as the “gateway to sleep” because it appears at the onset of sleep for a short duration. This is the shortest duration sleep, approximately 5% of the night. Stage two happens when the conscious awareness of the external environment is gone. This stage occupies about 45% of the night. Stages three and four are both referred to as “deep sleep”. In these stages, brain activity is slowed and autonomic activity, heart rate, respiration, and blood pressured are all lowered. This is frequently the stage that people sleep walk in. It is very difficult to wake someone up out of delta sleep and usually requires a ‘personal’ stimulus like calling out their name. These stages occupy about 25% of the night.

Why is Sleep so Important?

Sleep is so important for the recovery of the mind and body. The more exercise is performed, the more sleep is needed. When we have a lack of “deep” (non-REM) sleep it results in a person feeling physically tired. When we have a lack of REM sleep, it causes us to feel anxious and irritable. Various hormones are secreted into the body during sleep. Sleep serves important immune system functions and memory. Sleep plays a big role in the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. When we are chronically sleep deprived, we are subject to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep improves learning. When you sleep, your brain forms neural pathways to help you learn and remember information. Because of the changes in the brain due to lack of sleep, one may also experience trouble making decisions, controlling emotions, and coping with change. Lack of sleep has also been linked to depression and suicide.

A lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity. When you are sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry) and less leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full). With every hour of sleep lost, your risk of obesity goes up.

Sleep Info

How does Himalayan Pink Salt Affect Bone Growth?

While common household table salt can contribute to the leeching of calcium from your bones, Himalayan salt is quite different. It is a natural salt that contains 84 minerals that are essential for your body, one of those being calcium. All of these minerals aid our body’s natural detoxification process and promote the removal of bacteria. Himalayan pink salt is also rich in iodine, which helps your body create an electrolyte balance. This in turn helps your intestines absorb nutrients and lowers blood pressure.

Before refrigerators, people would preserve their food with salt. Our bodies needed and utilized the nutrients that were in the salt-preserved foods. As we started going away from that, we lost that source of healthy natural salt and essential minerals. One of the reasons we need those minerals so much is for bone growth. Let’s say for example, that someone needed a palatal expander and therefore would need to grow more bone in order to help make the palate/jaw bigger and stronger. The minerals found in himalayan pink salt would be crucial for this.

It has also been shown that adding a pinch of pink salt to meals or drinks can help the body achieve optimal fluid balance and prevent dehydration.

What is Forwardontics (Orthotropics)?

Forwardontics (also known as Orthotropics) is a program that encourages normal jaw growth and development. It includes all treatment that focuses of forward development of teeth and jaws in both children and adults. Forwardontics utilizes appliances to develop the anatomy (width and length) of the jaws to be able to house the tongue and a healthy airway.

The main difference between orthodontics and forwardontics is that forwardontics is more focused on the face and the causes of malocclusion.

How Does Forwardontics Work?

Is there a Difference Between Human Jaws Now and Human Jaws in Ancient Times?

Showing what a hunter gatherer’s jaw looks like, with roomy perfect arches of well aligned teeth, with no impacted wisdom teeth-a movie stars dream jaw, 15,000 years before movies! Stanford evolutionist Richard Klein, a top expert on our species fossil record, has told us that he personally had never seen an early human skull with crooked teeth.

The increased frequency of crooked teeth is a signal of how serious oral-facial health problems have become in society.

Before Agriculture, Human Jaws Were a Perfect Fit for Human Teeth

How Have Soft Foods Affected our Jaw Development?

As a society, we have changed out culture to be big consumers of soft foods. This trend appears to have led in turned to progressively more alteration of jaw development and in some cases too little room for the last molars (wisdom teeth) to erupt (emerge from gums), a phenomenon known as “impacting” of wisdom teeth-Daniel Lieberman summarized the results: “The mechanical forces generated by chewing food not only help your jaws grow to the right size and shape, they also help your teeth fit properly within the jaw.” Changes in chewing changed human jaws and faces.-soft foods such as fruit, yogurt, applesauce, and peanut butter do not provide the chewing opportunity that children need. The same lack of opportunity is suffered by children of parents who cut meat and other chewable food into tiny pieces because they are afraid their kids might choke. Therefore children miss our in the learning experience of how the tongue and muscles coordinate to maximize extraction of nutrients from a meal and so not get the muscle exercise that is needed for the healthy development of the jaws

As you chew less hard foods, your jaw muscles get slack, and thus you hang out mouth open due to an under exercises and weakened jaw muscle.

Jaw Size Linked to Diet

Why are Braces Alone Insufficient for Teeth Correction?

Dental orthopedic appliances typically do not work as intended. They can help move teeth around temporarily, which can help with appearance, but have little long term beneficial effect.

The solution to fixing smiles in the past was usually to extract teeth, wire up the remaining teeth and use the resulting extra space to create beautiful smiles. And the results were exactly that and only that, beautiful smiles. But the smiles lacked “context.” These were smiles that in the process of building up a straight set of pearly aligned pearly whites, left behind destruction to what could have been a strong jaw line, easy breathing, and a well-constructed face.

Palatal Expansion Brochure

How does Jaw Alignment Affect Physical Appearance?

In one way it could be a blessing that attractiveness can be a thermometer that can signal underlying serious disease. Extreme malocclusion should be a symptom of great concern, but the more subtle distortions caused by poor jaw development, and obvious mouth breathing, if widely understood by the public as symptoms of likely underlying problems, could help get many more youngsters treatment in time.

There is substantial evidence that people judged by Western and Westernized societies to be “handsome” or “beautiful” do better socially than those considered less attractive. They tend to be treated differently as children and are less likely to be bullied. They get more votes in elections, make more money, and may be healthier or gain other advantages. They are likely to be treated more leniently by juries.

Correct oral posture (holding the mouth closed with teeth in light contact and the tongue resting on the roof of the mouth) is conducive to the functionality as well as the appearance of the face and jaw.

In the picture rbelow, the boy started with good oral posture (shown on the left), but gradually declined as he got older and eventually ended up with poor jaw alignment (shown on the right).

Facial Asymmetry

How to improve cheekbones

What exactly is Sleep Apnea?

In short, the word “Apnea” means: Without Breath.
So sleep apnea means without breath during sleep.
Some people feel like they are suffocating while sleeping. This feeling is most common with severe sleep apnea.

There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is when breathing is interrupted by a mechanical obstruction blocking airflow. The tongue is often what is too far back in an airway that gets pulled back restricting airflow. When people snore, the snoring gradually gets louder and louder as the tongue is getting pulled back gradually until the person wakes up to breath better or someone else wakes them up due to the noise. Some people say that sleep apnea is your body choking on itself or choking on your tongue at night.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea: Breathing stopping because of a neurological condition. Your brain forgetting to initiate breathing for a short period.

There are other conditions that people have before the y get sleep apnea.

These are:

  1. UARS – Upper Airway Respiratory Syndrome
  2. Sleep Disordered Breathing
  3. Insomnia

What is a Hypopnea?

Hypopnea is related to sleep apnea and is in the same family of sleep disorders. In hypopnea, there is a decrease of airflow for a minimum of 10 seconds in respirations, a 30-percent reduction in ventilation, as well as a decrease in oxygen saturation.

There are three different types of hypopnea:

Central hypopnea: Where both airflow and breathing effort are reduced.
Obstructive hypopnea: With obstructive hypopnea, only the flow of air is reduced, but not the breathing effort.
Mixed hypopnea: Mixed hypopnea is a mix of both central and obstructive hypopnea episodes.

You may be wondering what the difference is between sleep apnea and hypopnea is and the answer is they are actually quite similar. In fact, hypopnea is a type of sleep apnea. Hypopnea means abnormally slow or shallow breathing, while apnea means periods of no breathing.

The main difference is that in sleep apnea, the airway is completely blocked while in hypopnea, the airway is partially blocked.

What are some of the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Snoring
Choking sounds
Daytime sleepiness
Fatigue
Insomnia
Headaches
Depression
Anxiety
Nocturia (waking up in the night to use the bathroom)
Difficulty focusing
Memory loss
Decreased sexual desire
Irritability

Sleep apnea and hypopnea are very serious medical conditions. Every time an episode of apnea or hypopnea happens, your brain as well as body tissues are deprived of oxygen. Sleep apnea or hypopnea can cause serious health issues over time if not properly managed.

What is AHI?

AHI stands for apnea-hypopnea index. AHI is a scale that tells whether or not you have sleep apnea and, if so, how severe it is.

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while you’re asleep, whereas hypopnea, is a partial loss of breath for 10 seconds or longer. Normal sleep involves air passing through and going directly down to the lungs. With an obstructed airway, the structures in the back of the throat (the tongue, the tonsils, and/or adenoids) occlude the airway due to an inadequate motor tone of the tongue and/or airway dilator muscles, and thus, prevent the air from passing. This creates repetitive episodes of obstruction of the upper airway causing a loss of breath and oxygen, anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds or longer. When this occurs, blood oxygen levels drop, and heart rate and blood pressure rise. The brain ultimately sends a distress signal that partially or fully wakes the person and alerts the body to breathe, causing the patient to gasp for air.

What do the numbers in the AHI mean?
The AHI is the number of times you have apnea or hypopnea during one night, divided by the hours of sleep.

Normal sleep: An AHI of fewer than five episodes on average, per hour
Mild sleep apnea: An AHI of 5-14 episodes per hour
Moderate sleep apnea: An AHI of 15-29 episodes per hour
Severe sleep apnea: An AHI of 30+ episodes per hour

Orthodontic view in the diagnoses of obstructive sleep apnea

What is a more Detailed Explanation of Sleep Apnea?

When discussing sleep apnea, the terms apnea and hypopnea are often used.
A hypopnea is when breathing is partially impaired due to a partial obstruction of your airway.
An apnea is when breathing is completely stopped.

During a sleep test, an apnea or hypopnea has to last for at least ten seconds to be counted toward a diagnosis of sleep apnea. When these episodes last less than ten seconds it is called a RERA, or respiratory effort related arousal. When our bodies arouse us or wake us up to breathe it disrupts our REM sleep cycles.

As sleep apnea progresses, these events gradually increase in duration. Often people will have shorter arousals and be found to not have sleep apnea even though they may have UARS or sleep disordered breathing.

What are the Health Affects of Sleep Disordered Breathing or Sleep Apnea?

When breathing is impaired or completely stopped briefly due to an obstruction, untreated this can take 12 to 15 years off your life. This is worse than the negative affects of smoking or diabetes. When someone is sleep deprived, their performance in all areas of life goes down. Their performance in school, their behavior and mood, their jaw/cheekbone development, etc.

Driving sleep deprived is more dangerous than both drunk driving as well as texting and driving.

How Common is Sleep Apnea?

“Obstructive sleep apnea is destroying the health of millions of Americans, and the problem has only gotten worse over the last two decades,” says Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, President of American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

According to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, at least 25 million adults in the United States are affected by sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea affects about 25% of men and almost 10% of women. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages. This includes babies and children and particularly people over the age of 50 as well as those who are overweight.

What is Orofacial Dysfunction?

Orofacial dysfunction is commonly tongue thrusting, deviate swallowing, mouth breathing, orofacial muscle unevenness, deviate mandibular movement, and malocclusion (imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed).

Orofacial dysfunction is connected to:

  • Upper airway obstruction
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Pacifier or bottle use
  • Orofacial muscular and structural differences
  • Genetics

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Speech distortion, such as a frontal lisp
  • Open mouth positioning
  • Dental abnormalities, like overjet or open bite
  • Tongue thrust (when the tongue pushes against the teeth during speech or swallowi

What are some of the Signs of Dysfunctional Growth & Development?

Signs of dysfunctional growth & development include:

  • Snoring or loud breathing when asleep
  • Crowded/ Crooked teeth
  • Lack of spaces between baby teeth
  • Dark circles or bags under the eyes
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Affected hearing/Ringing in the ears
  • Scalloped pattern on the sides of the tongue
  • Visible upper gums when smiling
  • Restless and poor sleep
  • Frequent bedwetting
  • Forward head posture
  • Tongue tie
  • Unbalanced facial growth patterns

MUST my Children have Teeth Extracted and Wear Braces to Correct their Smile?

Fortunately, the answer is almost always “No, it is not necessary to extract your child’s teeth to correct their smile”.

Please click on the blue graphic to see a testimonial (picture and text) of what Dr. Tanner is able to do to create a beautiful “full smile” without extracting teeth and applying braces.

View PDF

Is Airway Orthodontics Right for my Child?

10% of children may now have jaw-related potentially dangerous interrupted breathing at night. Consider: if just 10% of the people in the US were in bed with the flu, all the mass media would be focused on the “flu epidemic”.

Orthodontics with an emphasis on revising impaired breathing is a vital aspect of the remedy for kids who wheeze, snore, or have apnea.
We can take action ahead of time for these kids who are in danger of building up these issues.

Studies exhibit that 70% of kids who snore have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Kids with OSA are as often misdiagnosed as having ADHD.
These children are made to take unnecessary medication when in truth their issues are being brought about by lacking res

Do I still have Options as an Adult?

Yes!

As an adult, you may feel that your orthodontic choices are exceptionally restricted, based on the fact that your face is no longer growing. You may also feel that a few remedies you’d prefer to have achieved are not, at this point conceivable. Maybe you recently had orthodontic treatment yet have some backslide, or really weren’t content with the result of treatment. Dr. Tanner has refined strategies, that can grow new bone, even in patients who are done developing. This takes into account improving facial style, alongside a stunning grin in adults as well.

Can Dr. Tanner Help with Sleep, Headaches and TMJ?

Airway expansion orthodontics is a natural orthodontic practice – so it takes into account more than just the size of the airway. The big picture. From early youth to the ageless youth.

The video below is a prime example of naturally working with the patient. This happy Mom tells about her son’s experience with Dr. Tanner. Her son had severe crowding, chronic congestion, and misaligned teeth. After treatment, his teeth are aligned, he is breathing and sleeping better, he has no chronic congestion—all without having any teeth pulled.

What are TMJ disorders?

Our TMJ acts like a sliding hinge, connecting our jawbones to our skulls. We have one joint on each side of our jaw (called the temporomandibular joint, or “TMJ”). TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in our jaw joints and in the muscles that control jaw movement.

The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Such pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments.

WHAT IS THE TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ)?
The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, called the mandible, to the bone at the side of the head — the temporal bone. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can feel the joints. Because these joints are flexible, the jaw can move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control its position and movement. When we open our mouths, the rounded ends of the lower jaw, called condyles, glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. The condyles slide back to their original position when we close our mouths. To keep this motion smooth, a soft disc lies between the condyle and the temporal bone. This disc absorbs shocks to the jaw joint from chewing and other movements. The temporomandibular joint is different from the body’s other joints. The combination of hinge and sliding motions makes this joint among the most complicated in the body. Also, the tissues that make up the temporomandibular joint differ from other load-bearing joints – such as the knee or hip. Because of its complex movement and unique makeup, the jaw joint and its controlling muscles can pose a tremendous challenge to both patients and health care providers when problems arise.

WHAT ARE TMJ DISORDERS (TMD)?
Disorders of the jaw joint and chewing muscles, and how people respond to them, vary widely. Researchers generally agree that the conditions fall into three main categories:
1. Myofascial pain involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function.
2. Internal derangement of the joint involves a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle (a rounded protuberance at the end of some bones – forming an articulation with another bone).
3. Arthritis refers to a group of degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders that can affect the temporomandibular joint.

A person may have one or more of these conditions at the same time. Some people have other health problems that co-exist with TMJ disorders, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances or fibromyalgia, a painful condition that affects muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body. These disorders share some common symptoms (which suggests that they may share similar underlying mechanisms of disease); however, it is not known whether they have a common cause.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?
A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:

* Radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck;
* Jaw muscle stiffness;
* Limited movement or locking of the jaw;
* Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth;
* A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.

What Can I Do to Fix My Snoring?

There are many factors which may contribute to snoring. Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but is a good idea to have a sleep test conducted to determine if you have OSA.

Dr. Tanner and his staff have the training and associated technology to determine if OSA is the underlying cause of your snoring, and offer non-surgical treatment options to remedy airway obstruction.

To read more about OSA and other potential causes of snoring, please download and read the attached PDF.

Download PDF

Why am I Always Tired During the Day?

Statistics show that the suffering of over 25% of people who experience Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is caused by an obstructed airway, typically accompanied by Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Dr. Tanner and his staff are well trained and experienced in determining if OSA is a cause of your, or your child’s, EDS using advanced testing equipment and technology. If such is the case, there are viable solutions to correct these issues and other related issues.

Dr. Tanner and his team are able to provide non-surgical solutions to grow the airway, and correct other related issues in adults as well. Please call Dr. Tanner’s office for a free consultation for yourself and your children.

What does "Form follows function" mean?

Lets take a look at our case of nose breathers versus mouth breathers.

For what reason do they look so different, when the hereditary makeup is hypothetically the same?
The answer to this question lies within the tongue. An amazingly incredible muscle, the tongue can be our closest companion or our biggest foe.

Why, you ask?

The body is made for breathing generally through the nose. Air can be warmed, dampened, and sifted as it goes through the nose.
With nose breathing, the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth. The tongue puts pressure on the palate. As we grow and develop, this acts as a natural expander to widen the upper jaw and counteract the pressure of the cheek muscles pushing inward.

With mouth breathers, the mouth is open and the tongue is constrained down and forward to permit air to go through the mouth and into the throat.
The tissue of the mouth, tonsils, and throat dries out and gets aggravated. The tonsils frequently augment, aggravating the issue.

This means the tongue is not putting pressure on the teeth and roof of the mouth. When the cheeks continue to push inward, it creates a narrow upper jaw.

This frequently brings about a long and narrow face, a retreated jawline, gummy smile, crowded teeth, and a larger than normal nose.

What does Forward Head Posture Look Like?

The forward head posture is a result of the brain figuring out what is needed to maximally open the airway.

The other postural changes are needed to maintain balance.

What is the Importance of Nasal Breathing?

Nasal breathing is responsible for bringing oxygen into and out of the lungs at a slower rate, resulting in increased oxygen absorption once inside the body. Most of the nitric oxide produced in the body comes from the paranasal sinuses, and this nitric oxide allows oxygen to be absorbed at a rate eighteen percent higher than it is when inhaled through the mouth.

Nitric oxide is associated with optimal cardiovascular function and is an important signaling molecule in many bodily processes, including metabolic and hormonal health. Without nasal breathing and nitric oxide, oxygen is inhaled through the mouth resulting in irritation to oral tissues, decreased oxygen absorption, and shallow breaths. These problems lead to bigger problems over time, like chronic fatigue, brain fog, forgetfulness and metabolic syndrome, and are associated with many diseases that are characterized by these symptoms, including Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Easy to observe symptoms that may signal someone is a mouth breather include: dry lips, dry mouth, snoring and open mouth while sleeping, numerous airway illnesses, including sinus and ear infections and colds.

The Tarahumara Native Americans, claimed by some to be the greatest marathoners in the world, run up to 60 miles a day, minimally shod, sometimes barefoot, in the Cooper Canyon of northern Mexico. They breathe almost exclusively through their noses, and maintain unstressed, peaceful faces. And Apache “spirit runners” have been trained from childhood by running in the desert while holding a mouth full of water. They learned to breathe deeply while holding a mouth full of water. They learned to breathe deeply and rhythmically through their noses, avoiding the panting that would dry their throats in the dry desert air.

Why is Mouth Breathing Bad for Health?

Mouth breathing dries out the oral tissues, including the gums, teeth and airway. This leads to tonsil inflammation and formation of tonsil stones, bad breath, dry throat & difficulty swallowing without something to wash food down, and increased cavities and gingivitis. A lips-apart posture = a low tongue, which perpetuates mouth-breathing and poor palatal development during childhood.

Individuals with mouth-breathing often have a strong gag reflex on the tongue. A fully integrated gag reflex exists only in the esophagus, not on the tongue.

What Makes a Tongue Tied?

“Tongue-tie” is a layman’s term for abnormally short lingual frenum. There are a few examples of tethered embryonic tissues found to be present in childhood and adulthood – but tongue-tie is one of the most common. A few classification scales exist to identify the depth and complexity of a tongue, lip or cheek tie. Email or call us today for an evaluation!

Tethered oral tissues as described above can interfere with breast-feeding and proper craniofacial growth and development. The tie is considered an embryological remnant of tissue in the developing body, resulting in tight fascia and restricted function. These restrictions often lead to muscle compensations, fatigue and soreness over time.

Other forms of myofascial restriction can be treated by physical therapy, rolfing, or cranio-sacral therapy. Lip, cheek and tongue ties are best treated by functional frenuloplasty with a highly trained ENT or specializing Dentist. Skilled Cranio-Sacral Therapists, Lactation Specialists & Myofunctional Therapists can often treat infant tongue, lip and cheek ties very successfully if caught early on.

Why is Tongue Thrust Important?

During proper swallowing mechanics, the tongue produces a wave to move the bolus (a bite of food that’s been chewed and is ready for digestion) down the esophagus and into the stomach.

When the tongue thrusts forward during swallowing, this can result in an anterior open-bite where the top and bottom front teeth do not bite together fully. The tongue can also thrust posteriorly or laterally. This can result in an open-bite or cross-bite at the back teeth, and often contributes to a deep overbite of the front teeth.

This phenomenon is considered a retained infantile swallowing pattern, since the “suck-swallow-breathe” pattern during infant breast-feeding is still observed despite the introduction of solid food. Improper swallowing mechanics are often a result of other orofacial dysfunction, such as low tongue and mouth-breathing.

Many people with a tongue-thrust struggle to maintain their airway during dental appointments, especially with cavitron use during a dental cleaning (like water-pooling at the back of the throat), rubber dams, and a “strong tongue or lip” that tends to push dental tools in the mouth away.

What is Tongue Posture and What Role Does it Play?

When the tongue is where it’s supposed to be, the airway is open and the teeth and bite are in balance. This supports proper craniofacial development, orthodontic alignment, and breathing.

The tongue should rest fully in the palate, occupying the entire oral cavity and should not spill over onto teeth. Try creating a suction with the whole tongue to see if yours has the palatal space and strength needed to maintain proper tongue posture!

Without enough room in the roof of the mouth, the tongue will have difficulty staying up in the palate. Without strength, tone, dissociation and mobility, the tongue will also struggle to position properly. One example of tongue mobility is freedom from the floor of the mouth – if the tongue is tied (even a “deep tie” that isn’t as easy to detect), this can restrict the tongue from proper position and function.

The tongue should rest up in the palate at all times of day and night when not eating, drinking, or speaking. Proper tongue posture is key for optimal development and function of the orofacial structures, including the airway. A low tongue due to a tongue-tie or poor tongue posture can press against the airway while at rest, leading to snoring and other issues like restless sleep, chronic fatigue or even ADHD and bed-wetting in kids. A CBCT scan may be a useful way to validate your airway size and tongue posture, and a sleep study can help determine if your low tongue posture is affecting you or your child’s quality of air and rest.

Talk to one of our specialists today to find out why your tongue may not be able to maintain proper resting posture.

Orthodontic Relapse and the Tongue

The teeth exist in a balance between the inner forces of the tongue and the outer forces of the cheek and lip muscles. When growth and development is optimal, this results in a harmonious relationship between the teeth and the bite.

Tongue posture and function is detrimental to tooth and orthodontic health. When the tongue rests low in the mouth or thrusts during swallowing, it provides consistent patterns of pressure that can affect tooth position (think braces and how those tiny movements over a long time have a big change on the way a smile looks!). Spaces between teeth can be difficult to close and often unstable after ortho treatment, resulting in relapse.

When the tongue rests on the floor of the mouth, the palate is often underdeveloped and therefore, too narrow to fit all teeth evenly. This can cause problems like a gummy smile, poor tooth alignment, traumatic or uneven bite, and even contribute to clenching and grinding and airway issues like snoring.

Tongue posture is determined by placement of the tongue in the roof of the mouth at all times, although this can be difficult for patients with sub-optimal palatal growth (narrow, high, or vaulted palate) or a tongue-tie restriction. Talk to our specialists to see if treatments like palatal expansion, myofunctional therapy, sleep study or tongue-tie release are right for you.

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

“Myo” meaning “muscle” + “Function” + “Therapy” = the practice of exercises to help improve daily posture and functions of the muscles that make up the face and airway.

Therapeutic techniques can help establish, restore, and optimize the position and motor output of the structures of the head and neck. Suboptimal craniofacial development, posture and function of the orofacial complex have been shown to contribute to the development of many health-related issues. This is often the root cause of problems associated with orthodontics (think crowded teeth, or an open bite), poor swallowing patterns (such as a tongue-thrust) and increased respiratory effort (like mouth-breathing and even snoring!).

Therapy works to retrain the muscles in order to achieve these 4 specific goals:
– nasal breathing (all day and all night)
– maintaining a lip seal (all day and night)
– proper tongue resting posture (all day and all night)
– proper swallowing mechanics

The muscles trained include the tongue, lips, cheeks, soft palate, and the muscles of the throat and airway. When combined with other needed treatments like airway expansion, orthodontic alignment, or tongue-tie release, myofunctional therapy can help alleviate and prevent issues that sometimes seem small but are warning signs for much bigger problems, like teeth grinding, snoring, and much more.

Does Myofunctional Therapy seem right for you? Contact us today for an assessment!

What is Anterior Vertical Growth?

Anterior vertical growth is characterized by the increase over time of the vertical length of the front of the head, namely the forehead, the nasal area, and the upper and lower jaws.

When the vertical anterior facial growth is disproportionately greater than horizontal growth (front to back and side to side) of the head, potential health concerns arise. Specifically, as the upper and lower jaws grow vertically disproportionate to the upper face, the lower jaw tends to move down and back, often resulting in the development of one or several health problems (e.g. – poor alignment of the teeth, temporomandibular joint joint pain, constricted airway/breathing, migraines, speech impediments, etc.).

For more information on anterior vertical facial growth, download the attached PDF.

Download PDF

Do you take Insurance?

We accept payment at the time of service and we are happy to provide you with a superbill you can turn into your insurance to be reimbursed.