As parents we expect messy eaters as our child learns hand-eye coordination. However, as they grow and they are still messy eaters, chewing with their mouth open, difficulty swallowing certain foods or textures, and digestive issues with gas should be evaluated for myofunctional disorders. What is really going on? Myofunctional therapy evaluates the tongue and how the tongue functions in the mouth. Chewing with mouth open constantly, avoiding certain foods that are difficult to swallow and having digestive issue after eating (taking antacid after meals daily) is an indication that the tongue is not functioning correctly during mastication (chewing) and swallowing. The tongue can be restricted from movement (tissue under the tongue is shorter then should be) or the pattern of movement that has been used is incorrect (from thumb-sucking habits) and other muscles are compensating, called a tongue thrust. Chewing with the mouth open is not only bad manners but air is swallowed too. When air is swallowed gas increases inside our bodies occurs, aerophagia. Noisy eaters or swallowing/gulping liquid is an indication that the swallowing is compromised and other health will be affected.
So what it's just gas? Well yes, it stinks and embarrassing moments but that is not all that's happening, it's just one of the many indications your tongue is functioning improperly. Other indications of tongue thrust:
-Ear Infections, tubes placed
- Bed Wetting or Night Terrors
Studies have shown that a restricted tongue creates "a dysfunction early in life involving abnormal nasal breathing, sucking and masticating leads to progressive dysmorphis favoring increased collapsible of the upper airway during sleep, which worsens with ageing and leads to the development of SDB over time up to adulthood."*
Myofunctional therapy retrains the orofacial muscles to function in harmony. Please contact me today for your FREE 30 minute Assessment and see if I can help you be a healthier you!
Marie McElderry BSDH
*"A frequent phenotype for pediatric sleep apnoea: short lingual frenulum" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034598/