Bustin’ Mouth Myths Part III
Part III of busting up those dental myth – got my sledge hammer out! This round of myths centers on breathing, snoring, tongue ties, and jaw development.
#1. Mom’s teeth, Dad’s jaw = crowded teeth in Junior MYTH
Busted big time!
Crooked teeth are not the result of genetics. Dad’s big teeth and Mom’s tiny jaw is a myth perpetuated by misinformed dentists. That’s what I remember learning in school and I absolutely passed on that misinformation. Shame on me for not researching before I spoke! I know much better now. I just returned from the second annual Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences Congress (AAMS) in Chicago in early March and learned otherwise! Instead, the culprits are our modern diet, bottle feeding, pacifiers, finger sucking, tongue ties, and mouth breathing. Crooked teeth, malformed jaw bones, underdeveloped facial bones, allergies and chemical sensitivities are a fairly recent development in man. Dr. Weston Price concluded most of this crowding is due to our modern diet and the lack of critical nutrients – minerals and fat soluble vitamins A, D & K2. Dr. Price studied isolated peoples at the turn of the 20th century. He viewed what these groups of people ate, analyzing their diets/nutrition. He photographed their children and concluded the crowding and changes in modern man’s jaws were related to our modern diet. Dr. Price‘s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is quite in depth but I’m working my way through it. There’s a simpler version on the Weston Price Foundation Website. Next time you wander through a museum and see skulls – look at how straight and perfect our ancestor’s teeth were. Depending on their age and location– no decay and no crowding.
#2. Mouth breathing is okay and natural – MYTH
See above! I chat about mouth breathing and all the problems it causes all the time to anyone who’ll listen, and even some who won’t. It may be what folks “do” (walk through any airport or mall and you’ll see what I mean), however, it’s not healthy! Your mouth is only an emergency hatch. It’s not meant to be used as your main source of respiration. Yes, I get that you do it, however, you’ll be so much healthier if you breathe through your nose. What, you have a deviated septum and can’t!? Maybe it’s time to fix that so you can. Your nose has important jobs to do to keep you healthy. It filters air (remember how dirty your house filter is? Your nose does that on a daily basis.). It warms and moisturizes your air. It purifies the air, filters out and kills pathogens, viruses, and allergens. It adds nitric oxide to your system. Nitric oxide relaxes smooth muscles and increases oxygen uptake through dilating the blood vessels. Nasal breathing helps reduce anxiety. If you or other family members can’t regularly nasal breathe, it’s time to see a specialist or two. Start with an Allergist, or Ear, Nose and Throat doc. Yes, it’s that important. Mouth breathing is NOT healthy breathing. It results in so many health issues in addition to crooked teeth. Read my post: Breathing- Not Everyone is Doing it Right. Then, close your mouth and breathe through your nose.
The nose is for breathing and the mouth is for eating. Really!
#3. Snoring is cute in babies – MYTH.
Babies are cute, obviously. But they should not be snoring.
More important facts I learned at the AAMS Congress is that babies and snoring do NOT mix. Snore sounds coming from your sweet lil’punkin’ means punkin’ is not breathing correctly while sleeping. It means her airway is shutting down and is compromising her entire body. Babies brains grow at one percent a day for the first three months of life. Mouth breathing can reduce baby’s IQ by up to 15%. Snoring means baby’s oxygen levels are dropping and their cells aren’t getting enough O2~ the growing brain won’t like this!
I realize you’re not in there watching and listening to them sleep. Download the sleep app Snore lab. Listen, see, and be enlightened! Your cell phone can now be even more useful. Get your and baby’s Snore Card! Incidentally, FYI- snoring in children of any age is NOT acceptable either! As I did my research for this post I really tumbled to the fact many medical websites dismiss snoring as more of a nuisance than as a real medical and breathing problem. Maintaining an airway and getting all the oxygen your body, or your baby’s body needs is vital to health and proper growth. If your medical provider dismisses your concerns, it might be time to find another, just saying…don’t ignore the snore, no matter how cute it might be.
Maybe they’ll shrink, BUT! meantime, think of the havoc they’re creating! (How the heck does this person breathe, swallow, or sleep well?) These tonsils create airway issues that cause crowded, crooked teeth, narrow dental arches, high vaulted palate, and a long narrow face. Mouth breathing can result, and you know what I think about mouth breathing! These type of swollen tonsils have other consequences as well, such as bed wetting, day time sleepiness, attention deficient disorders, and other behavioral issues.
I do realize any operation has risks and those risks must be weighed off against the advantages of doing the surgery, so please investigate as to the cause of the swelling. Is it allergies, acid reflux, viral infection, or bacterial infection? Again, it may be time to record your child sleeping, see how much they toss, turn, mouth breathe and snore. Sleep should be restful, and breathing should be quiet.
#5. Tongue Ties will stretch or not matter- MYTH!!!
No- if it’s a true tethered frenulum, it won’t stretch. What will give is the bone underneath, or the teeth attached to the tissues. Waiting and watching is not a good option, especially for infants that are nursing. Address the tight tissue and release it! Tongue ties matter, as do lip ties. They are vestiges of embryonic tissues that did not develop properly and are not allowing the tongue or lips to move freely and fully. When the lip or tongue are anchored down, the jaws cannot develop and grow. Baby can’t latch and breastfeed correctly. Baby’s proper facial development is stunted and research shows he will have a high chance of getting obstructive sleep apnea as an adult.
#6. Lip Ties don’t matter- MYTH
See above, ’nuff said?? Well, maybe not – bet you never thought about food or liquids getting trapped between a lip and teeth to cause … (no surprise here!) tooth decay.
#7. Pacifiers are okay, especially the ortho ones! MYTH
Full disclosure, I relied on pacifiers more than I should have… I knew nothing about any of this until recently! Both my girls ended up with lateral tongue thrusts and a tongue that does not “fit” in their mouth. But! now I know more and so will you!
According to author and speech langue pathologist, Diane Bahr. babies need to use their mouths to explore things, just like a third hand. This is called “generalized mouthing”. They are learning about their world by exploring their hands, fingers and thumbs. (I’m not promoting thumb
sucking though.) Instead, babies learn about their environment. Around age five months they now move on to “discriminative mouthing”. They need chewy type toys, large enough so they can’t swallow it but small enough to move around to all areas of the mouth. This type of chewing and mouthing is vital to stimulate the jaw and get the teeth to erupt properly. Instead, research shows that even orthodontic pacifiers can cause (sorry for the dental lingo) posterior crossbite, and anterior open bite. Basically that means braces are in your future for malformed and crooked teeth alignment. It means teeth may not meet (see my daughter, left). The good old binky teaches that tongue to misbehave and settle down on the floor of the mouth on a continual basis. Ouch! We think we’re helping our sweet crying babies when in reality, we create more problems in the long run.
#8. Baby Formula is just as good as breast milk- MYTH
I I wish it were true, But! it’s just not as good. Some baby formulas actually have SUGAR in the form of corn syrup! Yes, sugar as the first ingredient.
As I was doing my research to learn about proper feeding of baby for another post, I took a look at baby formula and about came outta my socks! No wonder children are getting diabetes at such young ages. The number one ingredient, very first listed on the can of baby formula I picked up is “sucrose” – sugar by another name. Check out this video and news report: http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html
Sucrose, or corn syrup, or any one of the other 61 names for sugar conditions baby to want more sugar. Sugar in our infant formulas creates baby’s dependence on sugar, rather like a drug addiction! I understand not all parents can breastfeed, for a plethora of reasons. This is why it’s time we had better baby formula. Still, my recommendation is for breast milk and to breastfeed if at all possible.
#9. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (Myo) doesn’t work- MYTH
Dr. Michael Mew has a video that discusses the success of myo. By working with patients to teach proper tongue rest posture and swallowing, teeth can be moved by the alteration of the position of the lips and the tongue. It does take work, daily work, but… hmmm… avoiding braces and having a symmetrical, strong, balanced face, as well as a nice, large airway to breathe easily with- it is well worth the work!
A few years ago (as I was just learning about myofunctional therapy) I sat next to a pediatric dentist at a dental luncheon. This man was quite adamant that teaching folks to swallow properly just did not work, and myofunctional therapy was a hoax. It was a one sided conversation. I tried to explain how it cured my daughter of her super burps. He wouldn’t listen. Sadly for his patients, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. He’ll never see what I see. And, he’ll never be open to learning more and improving himself.
Myofunctional therapy does work.