Improper function of the airway can have a negative impact on your overall health. Orthodontics can help by correcting unhealthy behaviors and patterns and promoting healthy oral and facial development in children.
Early Intervention Is Key
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that the first ortho evaluation be done at age 7, but we are happy to evaluate at the first sign of an airway issue. Early intervention can help expand the upper arch, which widens the nasal floor and promotes better breathing, thus decreasing airway issues and reducing the risk for sleep apnea later in life.
If you’re well above age 7, no worries. The airway never stops being important, and prioritizing your overall health has no age limit.
We Value Local Partnerships
While an orthodontist can help with the structural aspects of the airway, we often require the help of our partners to achieve the best possible treatment outcome. General and Pediatric Dentists and Myofunctional Therapists are key to improving airway function.
Dr. C.C. Massey on the You’re The Cure podcast with Dr. Ben Edwards. Dr. Massey discusses the role of breathing and food in bone structure, how a mother’s health during pregnancy plays a vital role in a child’s development, and other important topics related to breathing.
Two of Dr. Massey’s favorite book resources:
In this episode, our own Dr. James St. Clair appears on the Moms in the Hub podcast. Dr. St. Clair breaks down dental orthopedics and the importance of establishing care with an orthodontist at a young age. Most people think that orthodontics is just about cosmetics and teeth straightening. However, problems within your mouth can lead to airway disruption, chewing difficulties, speech complications, and much more. Receiving the correct treatment can impact your confidence and your overall health. Take a listen so that you too can be informed about proper dental care!
Believe it or not, the quality of your breathing can impact your overall health and well-being. Breathing properly can help protect you from sickness, keep your mind clear, help you sleep better, reduce stress levels, and digest your food more efficiently!
A handy phrase is “Tongue up, lips closed, healthy breathing through the nose.” Let’s take a closer look at all the pieces that come together to create a good breath!
This includes your nasal cavity, valves, tongue, and other tissues – simply put, everything that we need to be working, doing its job each day. Usually, an Otolaryngologist (also known as an ENT – ear, nose, throat doctor) or your dentist will be your experts in this area.
The way you train yourself to breathe changes the quality of your breaths. Breathing into your belly instead of just your chest helps train your muscles and promotes good, deep breathing. Slowing the rate of your breaths (like breathing for 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out) can help relieve stress. You can read more in-depth about good breathing habits and practices here.
The Building Blocks
This is where orthodontists can be the most help. Your jawbones, facial muscles, teeth, and the roof of your mouth all play a part in how you breathe.
Though the number one thing that comes to mind when you think of orthodontics is braces, orthodontists can actually do so much more! Orthodontists are experts in all things alignment! Early and thorough orthodontic intervention can be incredibly helpful in guiding healthy development, treating issues as they pop up, and creating the best breathing environment for your body.
Did you know St. Clair and Massey can help you with:
Consider this example: if your face has weak muscles around the jaw, those muscles aren’t strong enough to hold the jawbones in the right place when you lay down to go to sleep. Those bones then put extra pressure on your throat and make breathing more difficult.
The result: when you don’t breathe correctly while sleeping, you don’t sleep as well. When you don’t get good sleep, you have increased stress, irritability, and other issues.
(Note: In children, this can look like mood swings, trouble focusing at school, and acting without thinking. More on this below!)
During your exam at our office, we’ll look at the structure of the mouth and teeth, which will tell us a lot about how everything is developing. If you’re not yet a patient at St. Clair and Massey, here are a few things you can look for in yourself or your child:
Even situations like having trouble breastfeeding a newborn can be an indicator of structural or functional issues! We have connections with excellent clinicians and doctors who can help mothers and babies struggling with breastfeeding.
Early orthodontic intervention can help guide your child’s development and address or prevent future concerns. If there are already some issues, it’s not too late! We still have many intervention options to help provide correction and improvement.
The whole staff at St. Clair and Massey Orthodontics are dedicated to helping you become your healthiest, happiest self.
Let’s chat. Give us a call at 806-799-6780.
With an in-office visit with one of our orthodontists, we will be able to accurately assess your airway and breathing and make a plan for improvements. All initial examinations are FREE, so there’s absolutely no risk.
There are three ways to get in touch with us: