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Myofunctional Therapy


group of people from behindMyofunctional Therapy is re-educating the oral facial muscles. It consists of a series of exercises designed to create proper functions of breathing, chewing, and swallowing in order to enhance proper airway structures and functions. Myfunctional therapy also addresses the elimination of poor habits such as thumb-sucking, nail biting, leaning, sleep positions, and grinding and clenching.

Problems begin with a lack of proper breast feeding, using pacifiers, spouted cups, a diet of processed foods, and oral habits often leading to our airways becoming smaller. This worsens with restricted soft tissues which do not allow the tongue and lips to guide proper growth and development or allow proper functions to create and maintain airway. Tight tissues that restrict the upper or lower lip or the tongue are thought to be caused by 50% environmental issues and 50% hereditary issues.

The body compensates for myofunctional disorders, which may lead to speech problems, poor posture, improper chewing, orthodontic problems, oral facial pain, difficulty breathing, or even sleep apnea.

Myofunctional therapy can be effective in treating these disorders, but we must also look to myofunctional therapy to help prevent these problems in children before problems become apparent.

We must include prevention as well as treatment of these disorders or we may become extinct or at the very least, continue treating just the symptoms over and over again without any resolution of the problem.

Function influences form and form influences function. We desperately need both in order to properly treat airway problems.

In the last five years, the field of myofunctional therapy has expanded to include the treatment of sleep disorders. If the tongue is not functioning normally, the airway may become restricted. Studies show that the exercises and re-patterning of the orofacial muscles on average improves sleep and snoring by 50% in adults and 62% in children.

The body will compensate with myofunctional disorders which may lead to problems with speech, occlusal stability, breathing, posture, and chewing. The lack of proper functions may lead to smaller or restricted airways, orthodontic problems, oral facial pain, and sleep apnea. We must include prevention as well as treatment of these disorders or we may become extinct or at the very least, continue treating just the symptoms over and over again without any resolution of the problem.

Function influences form and form influences function. We desperately need both in order to properly treat airway problems.

Proper chewing helps to develop the airway but if a child is given soft foods, chewing is not necessary. Once chewing is seen as not necessary the jaw does not form properly. The space for the tongue is smaller and swallowing and proper breathing becomes difficult or impossible.

The field of myofunctional therapy is supported by different philosophies, techniques, and scope of practice. In different countries, different training is offered as a post-graduate or sometimes pre-requisite to different specialties. In Brazil, myofunctional therapy is required for all speech pathologists. In Japan, dental hygienists are given the education in their course of study. In France, kinesiologists or physical therapists can practice myofunctional therapy. In the USA, physicians, dentists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, dental hygienists, and occupational therapists can be trained with a post-graduate education.
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New York, NY 10017
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(212) 297-2193

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