Orofacial Myofunctional Services
Getting to the root cause of airway, swallowing, and speech issues.
Assessing Structure to remediate and prevent future airway, swallow, and speech challenges .
Jaw, Lips, and Tongue
How do the jaw, lips, and tongue work together?
They work in harmony, however, independently of each other for breathing, eating/swallowing, and speaking.
Your jaw is important for alignment of your body. It opens your mouth for receiving food, brings the teeth together for chewing, and provides the stability for speaking in a way other people can understand you by preventing slurring.
Your lips are natures braces; they hold your teeth in place. They also keep food and liquid from falling out of your mouth when eating and drinking.
Your tongue provides the stability of your mouth and body. It supports efficient respiration when it is kept up in the roof of your mouth. Your tongue mixes your food with saliva while you're chewing and helps control the food in your mouth to prevent from accidentally aspirating your food (swallowing your food into your lungs). The tongue is responsible for starting your swallow. Your tongue is essential for making speech sounds appropriately.
Any interruption in the form or function can result in a muscle imbalance. A muscle imbalance can cause pain, headaches, speech issues, picky eating, chewing issues, swallowing issues, and more.
Immature Swallow Pattern
A tongue thrust is an orofacial muscle imbalance where the tongue becomes overused during talking, swallowing, and eating. The tongue may be underused during breathing. Tongues are opportunistic muscles which move forward into any space available, kind of like water. In the case of swallowing, the tongue moves forward to seal the front of the mouth during swallowing due to a misalignment of teeth that's already present. In the case of talking, the tongue is very visible on the outside of the teeth. In the case of breathing, the tongue may have a low, forward posture in the presence of an open mouth at rest.
Oral Habit Elimination
Oral Habits include thumb/digit sucking, pacifier sucking, nail biting, object chewing, cheek sucking, tongue sucking, etc. These are noxious habits that provide comfort usually during times of passive activity, hunger, stress, and/or nighttime sleep.
Oral habits can change the growth patterns of the jaw and face including tongue and mouth posture, abnormal swallowing patterns, and more.