Bringing Your Body into Balance with Myofunctional Therapy
Nearly 80 years ago, the great dental researcher Dr. Weston Price powerfully showed how diet shapes the way your teeth, mouth, and face develop. Traditional diets meant full, beautiful, healthy smiles. Once a modern Western diet was introduced, with its white flour and added sugars, the result was crowded, crooked teeth, and a host of dental problems – in less than a single generation.
When the mouth and teeth are kept from their full and proper development, it’s not just the mouth that suffers. An “impaired mouth,” as biological dentist Dr. Felix Liao has named the phenomenon, can lead to a long chain of interrelated systemic health problems, from allergies and depression to heart attack, stroke, diabetes, chronic pain, and more.
Diet’s impact on orofacial development begins before birth and influences postpartum and life-long development. The sucking motions involved in breastfeeding help lay the foundation for a healthy, fully formed mouth.
Children who are exclusively bottle fed or who can’t suckle effectively due to tongue-tie or lip-tie often wind up learning to use their mouth and face muscles incorrectly – for instance, breathing through their mouth instead of their nose or developing a tongue thrust, which lends itself to habits such as tongue-biting or cheek-chewing.
These kinds of parafunctional habits – using a particular body part in a way for which it was never designed – can further throw the body out of balance. TMJ disorders and other pain problems are common. Research has suggested connections between certain parafunctional disorders and ADHD, allergies, and other conditions.
The solution? Replace the parafunctional habits with good ones that retrain the muscles of the face to work as they were designed to work.
This is the focus of myofunctional therapy – a type of physical therapy that focuses on teaching the muscles of the mouth and face how to work correctly and efficiently. Over the years, it’s been shown to help with speech problems, teeth grinding/bruxing, snoring, tongue-tie, TMJ problems, digestive issues, and more.
Issues with forward head posture and back and neck pain can also be improved as we address the function of the orofacial muscles and properly stabilize the structures of the mouth.
One area we specialize in is releasing tongue-ties and improving the ability for the tongue to restore its proper function. When a tongue-tie is present, it pulls the head forward.
And while “myo” works at any age, it’s especially powerful during the growing years, from 2 to 8, while the mouth and head structures are still developing and can be easily guided towards balanced and harmonious facial development.
At this age, good facial development can lead to good dental development, often reducing the need for braces.
Consider, too: Braces only move the teeth. They don’t address the underlying dysfunction. (That’s why 90% of all ortho cases relapse!) With myo, we’re looking at the total body: How do the airway, muscles, joints, teeth, fascia, and nerves support each other and work together for proper function and stability?
Myofunctional therapy = restoring proper function of muscles/habits = proper development = room for teeth to come in straight
Working with a trained therapist over the course of several months and doing the recommended exercises to retrain the orofacial muscles, you can get them working the way nature intended – and pave the way for a lifetime of good health.
Good things happen when the body the allowed to work as it was naturally designed to work.