Improper oral muscle function may additionally lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) dysfunction and headaches. When a person swallows using a tongue thrust motion it lifts the throat and pushes the jaw into the TMJ. Also, if one no longer has a nasal breathing pattern but through their mouth, they tend to have a forward head position and use the muscles of the their upper back to breath, this can lead to neck and jaw tension. A high narrow palate can change the fit of TMJ leading to abnormal movement in the joint. This too can alter breathing and swallowing Treating TMD is a multi-disciplinary approach. OMT may re-pattern the muscle groups along with eliminating any parafunctional habits.
Recent research has shown that myofunctional therapy may reduce the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing (such as snoring), and improve mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). When functioning and used properly, the muscles of the tongue, throat, and face, can reduce obstruction to the airway. The stem of the problem in many cases is oxygen deprivation. When we take in air through the mouth, less oxygen is able to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Poor sleeping habits often result from lower oxygen levels. In children, this can adversely affect growth and academic performance. It has even been connected to ADD and ADHD symptoms.
Stomach distress can be mild, as in belching or severe as in painful bloating. This may occur if a patient has to breathe through their mouth while eating. In more extreme circumstance, mouth breathing creates a siphon effect. Acid is drawn up into the throat and causes swelling of the tissue behind the vocal cords that can be seen and feels like a lump in the throat. This results in coughing and throat clearing, which can make things even worse.
A person with abnormal oral muscle patterns may suffer a lisp or have difficulty in articulating sounds. If muscles in the tongue and lips are incorrectly postured, this can prevent a person from forming sounds of normal speech. Some children produce sounds incorrectly as a result of OMD. OMD most often causes sounds like /s/,/z/, "sh", "zh", "ch" and "j" to sound differently. For example, the child may say "thumb" instead of "some" if they produce an /s/ like a "th". Also, the sounds /t/, /d/, /n/, and /l/ may be produced incorrectly because of weak tongue tip muscles. Sometimes speech may not be affected at all.
In adults, poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream from mouth breathing has been associated with high blood pressure and heart problems. This constant and chronic condition affects the cardiovascular system and the heart because the smooth muscles that line all of the arteries react to this poorly oxygenated air with a kind of tightness, a kind of permanent tension, which can be very stressful and depleting to the body.
Practice Makes Permanent.