Raising Healthy, Good Looking Children

We all want our children to grow up to be healthy, attractive adults, yet something happens to that cute baby face as they grow.  Too many children are mouth breathers and it effects both their physical health and their appearance.   
I had the great opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and take a course at UCLA on breathing from Patrick McKeown.   Who knew there was so much to learn!  Patrick hails from Ireland, and came to teach us the Buteyko Breathing Technique and discuss the effects of chronic hyperventilation (over-breathing) caused by mouth breathing.  Long ago, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko observed that over-breathing caused many health problems.  Please read through and learn about the dangers associated with mouth breathing, why it’s vital to change to nasal breathing, and how mouth breathing affects our children both in their appearance and their daily performances in both school and in athletics.  Even three-year-old children can be over-breathing!   If you want to help your child, or any child you know, this is truly the most important information you can possess.
 
   Mouths are only for ingestion, exploration and communication.  The nose is meant for breathing.  It warms and filters the air you breathe, purifying about 75% of it, just like the filter in your car.  Nasal breathing removes dust mites from the body within 15 minutes,with mouth breathing, it takes the body 60 to 120 days to remove them.  Your nose regulates the amount of oxygen you take in.  It causes your tongue to be in its proper place on the roof of your mouth.  If you breathe through your nose you’ll reduce the number of colds you get! (Isn’t that nice to know during cold and flu season?) and you look more attractive breathing through your nose.  Your nose knows! 
 
So, what happens when you breathe through your mouth?  When you mouth breathe, you over-breathe.  That’s called hyperventilation and it can cause all types of problems in our body (Asthma, ADHD, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, poor concentration, fatigue, depression, excessive appearance of front teeth, incompetent lip posture (flabby lips),  open bite, cross bite, excessive anterior face height, narrow external nares (nostrils), crowded teeth, V shaped upper arch, large adenoids, tired eyes, double chin, sloping forehead, panic attacks, arrhythmias, myocardial hypoxia, bronchospasms, angina pectoris, migraines, hay fever, hiatus hernia, irritable bowel, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, phobic disorders, musculoskeletal aches and pains, hypoglycemia, tachyarrhythmia, chest pain, syncope, pins and needle feeling in arms and mouth, muscle twitching, and tense, anxious, stressed, and aggressive behavior.)  I bet you know people with these signs or symptoms that just cannot find the cause of their problems searching from doctor to doctor. 
Just a bit of chemistry- a very little bit
You’d think mouth breathing would be okay, since you naturally do it.  Unfortunately, when you mouth breathe, you over-breath.  Too much oxygen!  Your blood can only use so much oxygen.  Once the blood is saturated, taking in more oxygen won’t help at all.  That “deep breath” is totally unnecessary and actually causes more stress on your body.  What your body needs is the carbon dioxide (CO2) your cells give off in the lungs.  If you have low levels of CO2, hemoglobin will hang on to its oxygen molecule, and your tissues and cells, including your brain will suffer from a lack of oxygen.  CO2 is the catalyst, the key to release O2 into the lungs.  CO2 opens up your blood vessels and relaxes you.  If you have cold hands or feet, you’re breathing too much, losing carbon dioxide and constricting your blood vessels.  Carbon dioxide regulates the pH of your blood.  When you over-breathe, blood becomes too alkaline and causes acute biochemical changes in the body.  See the list above.  

Another chemical our body needs is Nitric Oxide (NO).  NO is released only in the paranasal sinuses- i.e. in the nose.  Nitric Oxide improves blood circulation and uptake of O2 in the blood.  NO dilates arteries, and arterioles, inhibits inflammation, and destroys viruses, parasitic organisms and malignant cells in the airways and lungs by inactivating their respiratory chain enzymes, to mention only a few of its benefits.  When you mouth breathe, you are not using nitric oxide.  (Here’s one more benefit of nasal breathing- it will shrink your varicose veins.)
If that yoga instructor tells you to breathe in and out through your mouth, tell them NO~  
Is My Child a Mouthbreather
Face development


Mouth Breathing:

Mouth breathing alters the way your face develops.  I’ve already written about mouth breathing in my article-Breathing, Not Everyone is doing it Right  but after this course felt I needed to address it again.  If you have not read that blog post, take the time to look it over, I won’t rewrite that whole article, here’s new information: 

 Dr. William Tipton wrote an excellent article for the Journal of the American Orthodontic Society entitled “Beautiful Balanced Faces”.  Click here to read it.  Dr. Tipton writes that it is very important to treat the mouth breathing child early because 60% of the growth of their face occurs by age four, 90% by age nine, and the lower jaw completes growing by age 18.  Most pediatric dentists and physicians suggest waiting until age five or six to address thumb or finger sucking, and then age 12 for braces.  I totally disagree with those suggestions. When finger or thumb sucking, the tongue is resting on the floor of the mouth which naturally leads to mouth breathing.  (Sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers are also in my no-no category.  These products also train the tongue to rest on the floor of the mouth.)  The more a child (or adult) mouth breathes, the more clogged their sinuses get, resulting in constant mouth breathing.  It is vital to start addressing mouth breathing much earlier for the benefit of a healthy, happy child.   “The majority of health care professionals are UNAWARE of the negative impact of upper airway obstruction (mouth breathing) on the normal facial growth and physiologic health.

Mouth breathing lowers the tongue position to make breathing easier.  This in turn causes the lower jaw to develop incorrectly, and malforms the face in general.  When the jaw is not developed correctly, receding chin, double chin, and all the other things I’ve list above start developing.

Straight Teeth:        

Every child should have straight teeth and when the face develops correctly, it follows that the teeth will be straight.  A good looking face will create straight teeth.  Let me say that again: Straight teeth are the result of correct facial development.  (It does not matter if you got mom’s teeth and dad’s jaw, that’s not the cause of crowded teeth…  It is a myth.)   ALL mouth breathers have crooked teeth.  The tongue, in the proper position on the roof of the mouth is the most important oral appliance your child possesses.  If it is not on the roof of the mouth your child will have crowded, nonaligned teeth. The lack of tongue pressure on the upper teeth hinders the proper growth of the jaw.  Muscle moves bone.   And, since the roof of the mouth is the floor of the nose, things start going downhill from there (again, review the list above). 

Sleep Apnea:

Children who mouth breath do not sleep well.  If your child is small for his/her age – consider sleep apnea.  It occurs even in childern.  Click my link to read my blog post on sleep apnea in children.  Are they tired during the day, unable to concentrate?  Often, these children are misdiagnosed with ADHD, they have high blood pressure and other medical conditions.  It all comes back to the airway.  
   

Anxiety: 

Over breathing causes panic attacks and anxiety.  Calm the breathing and it calms the mind.  Learning more about Buteyko breathing will train you or your child to stop over-breathing.  Slow, gentle relaxed breathing signals the brain that all is okay between the body and the mind. 

Athletic Performance:

We all want our children to be the best athlete they can be.  If they close their mouth, and have better control of their breathing, they will indeed perform better.  Remember CO2 allows more O2 uptake, and relaxes the smooth muscles.  When there is an O2 “shortage”, the spleen is then triggered to dump more oxygenated blood into the body.  Think a swimmer who can hold his breath the entire length of the pool versus the swimmer who cannot.  Who is the better athlete?   

Adults:

Adults of any age will also greatly benefit from nasal breathing.  Chronic hyperventilation may well be the root of many problems and ailments in our society.

Professionals Who May have Common Goals with Buteyko:

If your child is mouth breathing, has crooked teeth,  then look for:

          Functional Dentists: Biobloc dentists,  ALF  dentists, Check out this YouTube video
          Osteopathic Physicians: www.cranialacademy.org
          AAPMD (American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry) members
          Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists (Email me, I’m now a Myofunctional Therapist and can help you over Skype!)
          Sleep Medicine Physicians/ Pulmonologists

Buteyko Breathing Lessons   
There’s much more to breathing correctly than just nasal breathing, but that’s the place to start.  Breathing correctly will help with asthma, sleep apnea, weight loss, and relaxation, as well as a myriad of other health problem.  Check out the Buteyko website I’ve linked to above. 
       

Breathing correctly
   Good breathing is quiet, calm, invisible, and in and out through the nose.

Incorrect Breathing
   Poor breathing is mouth breathing, sighing, snorting, sniffing, visible movement of the stomach and chest, and it is noisy.
Mary Poppins was so right when she said: “Close your mouth, please, Michael. We are not a codfish.”
The very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
Don’t be a codfish! 
Keep Smiling,

Barbara 
All my posts are also on Pintrest!www.pinterest.com/barbaratritz/the-queen-of-dental-hygiene/

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