The body systems are comprised of checks and balances with the overall goal of reaching homeostasis. Homeostasis is defined as stability and equilibrium in and among the systems, physiologically as well as structurally.
The body is always working towards harmony and balance. Proper oral rest yields a balanced and harmonious orofacial complex structure. This includes gently sealed lips, tongue on the roof of the mouth, nasal breathing and symmetry. Read more about proper oral rest here.
Open mouth rest posture can be a symptom of open mouth breathing related to allergies, sinuses, bronchitis, enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils, enlarged turbinates, nose fractures, weakness or low tone of the facial muscles, oral habits such as thumb/digit sucking.
Open mouth rest posture can cause dry and chapped lips, short and fast breathing; weak muscles of the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue. It can cause a low, forward tongue position which leads to changes in the aesthetics of the face and position of the teeth. Teeth position can include crowding and malocclusion. Facial aesthetics changes may include an elongated face, a mandible that is pushed back, and a high narrow palate.
Open mouth rest posture and breathing negatively affect the functions of the mouth and face. Stay tuned for Part 2: What does Breathing have to do with your Mouth?
One of the major changes often seen in open mouth breathers is a forward head posture. The head moves to increase the space required to breathe better because of improper tongue posture -a tongue that is resting in the floor of the mouth and, many times, pushed forward to increase space in the back of the throat for breathing. Other changes noted with open mouth breathing include weakened and stretched abdominal muscles, dark circles and/or asymmetric positioning of the eyes, tired eyes, and shoulders that may come forward and compress the abdomen.
At Best MyoSpeech Therapy, we provide orofacial myofunctional therapy to assist with the treatment of mouth breathing. Marcia, our head SLP, has additional training in respiratory education techniques helpful for re-education of nasal breathing. We work with a team of otolaryngologists/ENTs, allergists, physical therapists, bodyworkers and dental professionals to provide the best possible care and optimize your quality of life.
Orofacial Myofunctional Evaluations can be scheduled online. We have successfully treated children, ages 4+ through adults.