Did you know that where your tongue rests during the day determines the quality of sleep you get? The location of your tongue is detrimental to your overall health! Where is your tongue right now? Is your mouth open or closed? Resting between your teeth, low in your mouth, or is the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth and the back of your tongue between your upper teeth?
The correct place of your tongue should be resting in the upper palate of your mouth, between your upper teeth. If your tongue is resting lower in your mouth your mouth will drop open. The tip of your tongue should be right behind the front teeth, the middle of your tongue between your premolars. Your tongue position affects how you swallow. Having your tongue in the correct position during swallowing is key to having a healthy digestion track. Chewing with mouth open so you can breathe indicates low tongue position and blocked airway. Babies who are very messy eaters, early sign for tongue developing poor habits. This causes aerophagia, swallowing air, which results in food babies, gas, burping, upset stomach after eating, and other digestive issues.
Let’s try and see how you swallow? Smile big, like the Cheshire cat, show your teeth, (see the picture to left) keeping your teeth together try to swallow. Make sure you don’t close your lips or strain your neck, it should be without struggle almost motionless. How did you do? The attached video will demonstrate the challenge of swallowing and other muscles overcompensate. Notice the excess drooling and how hard cheeks move to make the swallow happen. The tongue in the correct spot will make swallowing motionless. Excessive pressure from the tongue on the teeth (during swallowing) will shift them over time, this is how orthodontic relapse happens.
Now back to how the tongue affects our sleep. If your tongue is not in the correct spot during the day it will not be in the correct spot at night when our muscles relax as we sleep. When the mouth hangs open, snoring occurs, and our bodies are NOT in deep stages of sleep needed for repair. The airway is blocked by the tongue falling back. We wake ourselves up by snoring, or gaging, or dry mouth then we need to use the bathroom. You think, I am getting old, this is part of aging? No it doesn’t have to be that way. Being aware of where your tongue is at sleep will get you into better deeper sleep.
So now what? Myofunctional therapy has 4 goals.
Tongue on the Spot
During Myofunctional therapy I help you make the mind to muscle connection to correct habits that have been formed over the years. Myofunctional therapy assists breaking habits from thumb sucking to other oral chewing/biting habits to proper tongue position during swallowing. There is so much more to how Myofunctional therapy and how you can benefit from retraining your muscle memory, please read my other blogs to see the many ways your airway and health can improve.
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