There aren’t any studies that show people who get root canals have a higher risk of cancer. In fact, research on the link between cancer and endodontic procedures like root canals shows that people who have had these treatments have a lower risk of certain cancers.
The danger of these claims is that these fears can crowd out other real cancer risks or health concerns. Viewers may focus on previously completed root canals while ignoring well known risk factors for cancer or infection, including smoking, weight gain, and failing to get the right cancer screening tests on time. To be blunt, even if there is some truth to this whole idea, your old root canal is probably not harming your body nearly as much as your bleeding gums, cigarette smoking, or undiagnosed sleep disorder. Illness is cumulative, so it’s important to focus on the bigger concerns first when working towards optimal health and well-being.
HOWEVER, there is one very important thing that the documentary ROOT CAUSE gets right! There are many patients walking around with active infection in their tooth roots and bone who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that there is any problem whatsoever. We know this is true because we have advanced 3D imaging that allows us to routinely see infections in the tooth and bone that simply cannot be seen in traditional dental X-rays and are asymptomatic.
Because of this, we have been able to help countless patients get rid of active infection in their body quickly and easily. The first step to health is accurate and actionable diagnosis!
In looking at documentaries and other health related information on the internet, it’s important to remember a phrase we often share with our patients:
“Everything on the internet is somewhat right for some people.”
BOTTOM LINE: The most important thing is that you find a provider that you trust who will help you navigate through all the conflicting information out there, and who will have an in depth understanding of your individual circumstances in order to provide you customized advice on how to get and stay healthy.
While root canals can’t save every tooth, leaving the natural tooth intact helps maintain the jawbone’s original structure. Without the original tooth, the surrounding jawbone that once supported it will eventually break down, affecting a person’s appearance and their ability to chew.
There is a weird benefit to nighttime "mouth taping" that you should know about.
If you're like most people, the idea of taping your mouth shut while you sleep might sound a little crazy and maybe even scary. But as it turns out, mouth taping might just be the key to a restful night of sleep and so much more.
Helping your body nose breathe (rather than mouth breathe) during the night accomplishes a goal you might not even know exists. It greatly increases the amount of nitric oxide circulating in your blood, which has a range of benefits.
Why nitric oxide production is so important to your health
Nitric oxide is a molecule that occurs naturally in your body and plays a bunch of important roles in your health. There are two basic ways nitric oxide gets to your blood. The first is by eating nitrate-rich foods, like nutrient-rich vegetables, and the second is through the various ways your body creates its own nitric oxide, mainly exercise and nose breathing. While you have control over your diet throughout much of your life, your body's natural ability to produce nitric oxide through exercise and nose breathing decreases as you age. That's why it's vitalto develop good nose-breathing habits as early as possible—and not allow your body to fall into bad patterns again.
Science tells us that some of the major drawbacks of decreased nitric oxide from mouth breathing include:
Worsened vascular (heart) function High blood pressure Drop in cognitive function Decreased immune function Increased inflammation
On the other hand, improving your nitric oxide intake can help to not only improve your heart function, blood pressure, cognitive function, immunity, and inflammation but also:
Athletic performance Weight loss Digestion Neuropathic pain Anxiety and depression
Are you a nighttime breather? Here are a few ways to tell:
The kicker here is that most people who mouth breathe at night don't realize it's happening.
Mouth breathing can be a silent, slow-moving detriment to your oral and overall health. No matter how much you practice nose breathing throughout the day, you could still be mouth breathing at night without knowing it.
Recognize any of these things happening to you on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you might be a closet mouth breather:
Getting up in the middle of the night to pee Tossing and turning through the night Nasty breath in the morning Snoring Gingivitis and or bleeding gums Signs of teeth grinding Cavities Drool on your pillow
If you know you have some form of sleep-disordered breathing, like sleep apnea, it's almost certain you're mouth breathing through the night. Let's talk about your sleeping and breathing patterns at your next appointment.
You have a choice of more than just dental floss to clean between your teeth. There are now hundreds of products on the market for interdental cleaning, ranging from wooden sticks to interdental brushes, and now even oral irrigation devices also known as water flossers (or Water Piks.)
Clinical studies of the Water Pik have found that the water flosser is 51% more effective for reducing gingivitis, twice as effective at reducing gingival bleeding, and 29% more effective at removing plaque. The Waterpik can give you healthier teeth and gums when being used for just a minute per day.
What is a Water Flosser or Water Pik?
A water flosser is an oral health appliance designed for dental care at home: consider it a 'power washer' for your gums.
Although sizes and features vary, all water flossers include:
Motor with pump
Special tips for specific cleaning needs
The motor and pump cause a stream of pressurized, pulsating water to flow from the reservoir through the tip and into the mouth.
Water flossers are helpful for people with dexterity issues, such as arthritis, who find string flossing difficult.
What About Toothbrushing?
For daily home care, we recommend:
Brushing your teeth 2x a day for 2 minutes
Flossing once a day to clean between your teeth
Although water flossing reaches areas that tooth brushing can’t, it is not a replacement for brushing your teeth. Rather, it is an alternative to string floss, interdental brushes, or floss threaders to remove plaque and debris that brushing leaves behind. There will also be some patients for whom we recommend using regular dental floss in addition to water flossing, but we like to see every patient using a Water Pik, if possible.
Is Water Flossing Messy?
Compared to string floss, water flossing is easier and doesn't require you to put your hands in your mouth or deal with used string floss.
The correct technique is they key. Unlike string floss, you don’t need to look in the mirror or hold your mouth open wide.
To use a water flosser, place the flosser tip in your mouth, close your lips most of the way, and lean over the sink. Then turn the power on. As you floss along the gumline and between your teeth, allow the water to empty from your mouth into the sink.
Essential takeaway: flossing is designed to prevent bacterial changes that lead to gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to heart conditions, diabetes, and infection. If regular flossing isn't getting the results you're looking for, a water flosser might be the best option for you. Let's talk about this during your next appointment.
Let’s be real here: We know that visiting the dentist can be something that makes many patients nervous. Research shows that 20% of individuals who experience severe anxiety will only go to the dentist if absolutely necessary.
However, regular dental checkups are vital not only because they keep your teeth and gums healthy, but they can also help protect and maintain your overall health and well-being.
Downtown Dental is sensitive to the fears and concerns of our Nashville dental patients and we strive to create a comfortable environment for all patients, no matter their personal concerns. If the idea of visiting the dentist gives you anxiety, consider a few reasons why Dr. Clark's office can help ease your fears:
We invite you to express your worries from the very first moment you call to book an appointment. Our team makes your concerns our concerns. Whether you’ve had a bad experience in the past, are afraid of needles, or are apprehensive about any specific part of your appointment, let’s discuss it. We promise to listen carefully to get a full understanding of how you feel.
We give you all the information and discuss solutions.
Dr. Clark and our team will share with you a full range of options and information so you can make an educated decision about your personal treatment. We will not rush you into a decision you’re not comfortable with.
Additionally, we offer safe, effective dental sedation that has helped other patients like you overcome their dental fears. There are several options available; our team will be happy to discuss the solution that’s right for you and your treatment.Are you concerned about cost or time?
In addition to general fear of the dentist, many patients might be anxious about the cost or duration of necessary dental treatments.
We make a point to discuss your options in detail with you so you feel comfortable with every aspect of treatment. Depending on the procedure needed, there may be multiple options available that can fit your time frame and/or budget. Some procedures can be completed in the same day.Your treatment coordinator will explain to you how you can best maximize your dental benefit assistance and the various financing options available to you in order to make your treatment affordable. The ultimate decision is yours to make, and we will make sure you have all the information you need to choose the treatment plan and financing option that’s right for your dental health and your wallet.Bottom line: we deal with dental phobia every single day, and we get it. We won't judge you or dismiss your fears, and we'll do everything we can to work with you to feel more relaxed. Beyond the initial anxiety, regaining control of your dental health will be the biggest step you ever take in overcoming your fear of the dentist.
Our dental patients should know why we are listening (and looking) closer for the telltale signs that they may not be sleeping well.
It’s a typical day on the job: we see several patients, observe and clean their teeth and get them ready to see Dr. Clark. As we're cleaning one patient’s mouth, something seems a little off. We notice that they have a smaller mouth and a normal size tongue, and it’s difficult to see past their soft palate as they say “Ahhhh.” When we ask the patient about their week, they complain that they’ve been feeling tired and haven’t been sleeping well at night. We've experienced patients with a similar story and appearance before. What’s the connection?
Research shows that 24.1% of patients are more likely to visit their dentist than their physician for an annual exam, which places a responsibility on us to be knowledgeable about the oral signs that may be indicative of a larger health condition.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder that affects 20-30% of adults. It is also the most common undiagnosed sleep disorder and chronic disease in Western society, with up to 80 percent of people that suffer from moderate to severe OSA unaware of their condition.
This is important considering untreated OSA can take up to 20 years off of your lifespan. It ages your body, wreaks havoc on your immune and cardiovascular system, and dramatically decreases quality of life.
OSA sufferers often experience an inability to concentrate or focus on everyday tasks because they experience repeated microarousals, which eliminate the opportunity to have complete restorative sleep cycles. They also can experience morning headaches, clenching and grinding, and dry mouth, which can have a severe negative impact on dental health and overall wellness.
Additionally, the disorder is linked to a number of comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even Alzheimer’s. Those that suffer from OSA are two times more likely to get into a car wreck, as sleep apnea causes a decrease in cognitive functioning.
Sleep apnea can originate in the throat, which makes us the front line in detection of the physical signs that a patient may suffer from if they have OSA. Many patients with sleep apnea DO NOT experience the tell tale symptoms they have heard about; snoring, daytime fatigue, witnessed cessations of breathing during sleep, high blood pressure, and waking from sleep with a gasp or choking sound. Instead of focusing only on these subjective symptoms, the easiest way to gauge risk of obstructive sleep apnea is to look in the mouth…
What we look for: signs and symptoms
Patients with OSA display many symptoms that can be observed simply by looking into the mouth. The MOST predictive signs include:
Small or recessed chin
Eroded enamel / Clenching and Grinding
Mallampati Classification of III or IV
Other signs we assess that are correlated with OSA include:
Narrow Arch or Small Mouth
If any of these signs are observed, or we note other symptoms that may be indicative of sleep apnea (for example, if the patient is obese or complains of a dry mouth), we often ask follow-up questions, including:
Do you snore?
Do you wake during the night for any reason? Is it 4 hours into your sleep cycle?
Do you feel well rested after getting a full night of sleep?
Patients who confirm these symptoms should be further assessed. Dentists and dental hygienists can use screening tools for early detection of risk factors. If, after screening, we believe that a patient displays signs of sleep apnea, it is our responsibility to educate our patient and provide them the support they need to get tested.
OSA is not just overweight or older people who snore loudly, it's young otherwise healthy people who just have too much soft tissue (tongue, tonsils, soft palate) in the throat.
Each Downtown Dental patient (as well as those referred to Downtown Dental by their medical doctors) are provided with a sleep consultation appointment to discuss all the risks, and benefits associated with proper treatment of OSA. Based on the medical doctor recommendation along with our own assessments, we will follow the best approach to a customized, comprehensive treatment plan with ongoing care.
We're thrilled to be a part of Nashville Soccer Club as their OFFICIAL DENTIST: Dr. Clark is a longtime soccer player/fan and we look forward to sharing exciting things with you this season. We see athletes of all ages and abilities to not only treat injuries, but to fully optimize dental health and alignment to maximize performance.
Downtown Dental is passionate about total health, overall wellness, and how a healthy mouth impacts the performance of your entire body. As we work with this stellar team of athletes in the 2019 season, we plan to create meaningful content that will hopefully educate and enhance our athlete patients, of any performance level, as well as their coaches and trainers.
Our patients often ask us about oil pulling, or ‘swishing’: it’s an alternative treatment purported to rid your body of unwanted bacteria through the process of swishing vegetable oil (mostly coconut oil) around your mouth. Those who swear by the process claim that it whitens teeth, fights bad breath, and gets rid of bacteria stuck in hard to reach places.
We totally support alternative wellness, even when it comes to your teeth. Understand that oil pulling may sound like a great alternative oral care solution, but it can never replace brushing and flossing. Here's some real talk about oil pulling and how we think it can be beneficial:
What is oil pulling?
The process of oil pulling involves putting a tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil, often coconut oil, into your mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes before spitting it out and brushing it away with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The process gets its name partly from the pushing and pulling of the oil through teeth and mouth, and partly from the way the oil is supposed to pull icky stuff out of your mouth tissues.
The longer you push and pull the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are pulled free. The oil needs to be swished around long enough for it to turn a milky white, which indicates that the bacteria has been "pulled" off. After roughly 20 minutes the solution is filled with bacteria, viruses and other organisms; at this point, the person spits out the oil and rinses thoroughly with water.
How does oil pulling work?
The number of bacteria found in our mouths is usually between 1,000 and 10,000 on each individual tooth. It may sound like a lot, but these guys are tiny! Each of these bacteria have a fatty outer coating, and when they come into contact with another fatty substance, such as oil, they have a tendency to stick to that substance. Since liquid oil has the ability to get into hard to reach areas of the mouth that a toothbrush would miss, it is thought to be able to pick up bacteria that may have otherwise stayed hidden.
People that “oil pull” state that it has helped whiten their teeth, alleviate halitosis, and even reduce gingivitis. In many cases, people also claim that it helps “prevent” cavities, as well as relieve gum and tooth sensitivity.
What we believe
There is clear evidence that many diseases and conditions are influenced by the mouth’s ecology and bacteria, and we understand the topic of oil pulling is valid when patients wonder why oil pulling has been encouraged by dental professionals as a supplemental therapy for patients, especially if we are in the business of “preventing” oral health problems.
We support holistic approaches to your oral care. You just have to be smart about it and consider your individual dental health: there are certain types of infections that oil pulling will not resolve, and you have to be aggressive about treating those. It won’t take away raging gum infections or cavities. Oil pulling may remove bacteria, but it doesn't kill bacteria, and that's a big difference.
If oil pulling is used alone, without regular brushing and flossing, then no, it is not an effective way to keep your mouth healthy. It will not heal existing decay. However, when used in conjunction with proper daily brushing and flossing habits as a preventive measure, it may improve bad breath, help to decrease staining, and benefit in other ways. If you have dry mouth issues, we absolutely believe pre-bedtime oil pulling can be helpful.
It's a matter of life and breath: Downtown Dental is the first dental practice in the southeast to invest in Surgically Clean Air purification system for patient care
Hospitals, Medical Labs, Dental Clinics and Surgery Centers throughout North America are using Surgically Clean Air Purifiers to improve the quality of their Indoor Air for their Patients and their Staff. These world-class medical-grade air purifiers remove Chemicals, Toxins, Germs, Odors, and most importantly they kill airborne Viruses, to help reduce the spread of illness.
DENTAL OFFICE AIR QUALITY: WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW WILL HARM YOU
Dental offices are high traffic spaces: our regular, daily interactions with patients can introduce bacterial, viral, and fungal infections into the air. The indoor air within dental offices contains unhealthy and often infectious airborne pollutants. The ultrasonic instruments we use, along with the constant cleaning and disinfection of contact surfaces can create bio-aerosols that can contaminate the indoor air and increase the unhealthiness of the dental office. These pathogens can stay airborne for hours, even days.
WHAT SETS SURGICALLY CLEAN AIR APART?
The system doesn't just filter pollutants, germs, and other damaging toxins: it destroys them.
Dental procedures inadvertently generate aerosols, containing organisms and debris from each patient’s oral activity, and these can be harmful to everyone present in the clinic…. air filters result in the significant reduction of viable particles in the air. Hazardous bioaerosols created during dental procedures can be significantly reduced using an air cleaning system.
6 STAGE FILTRATION & STERILIZATION PROCESS
The purification system incorporates six (6) distinct stages that remove particles including Odors, Gases, Mold, Allergens, and Viruses.
Microbial air pollution is a real health issue and this is where technology helps makes us a better, healthier practice. Air purification systems can play a role in significantly reducing transmittable bio-aerosols.
We invested in a Surgically Clean Air system because we believe that paying attention to the quality and purity of the air in our office creates a win/win situation for our patients and team members. Learn more about what Surgically Clean Air is doing for other practices HERE.
Whether it’s the occasional night of too-little sleep or the larger, more chronic sleep debt so many people face, the brain and body are severely compromised by the effects of sleep deprivation, and we are committed to helping our patients understand and treat these challenges.
With that in mind, it feels like a good time for a check-in about ways sleep deprivation can interfere with your health, your safety, your relationships, and your performance. Here are four major areas that are affected when you don't get enough sleep.
You gain weight.
Poor sleep isn’t the only factor in weight gain, of course—there are several, including your genetics, your diet and exercise habits, your stress, and your health conditions. But the evidence is overwhelming: when sleep goes down, weight goes up.
And it doesn’t take a long time, or a lot of sleep deprivation, to bring the weight on. A fascinating study from researchers at the University of Colorado found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night led participants to gain an average of 2 pounds.
We also know that even after a moderate amount of sleep deprivation, you’re likely to eat more the next day. And lack of sleep makes you more likely to eat more of your overall calories at night, which can lead to weight gain.
2. You look, and feel, older.
We don’t know anyone—man or woman—who wants to look and feel older than they are. Getting plenty of sleep is one way to help prevent that. Sleep is "nature's botox", and here's why:
During sleep—particularly during deep, slow-wave sleep, the body produces more human growth hormone, or HGH, and goes to work repairing and refreshing cells throughout the body—including cells of the skin, muscles, and bone. Short on sleep, you risk losing out on this important rejuvenation—and it’s going to show in how you look and feel.
Losing strength and mass in muscles and bones can affect everything from your posture to your flexibility to your ability to exercise and be active, to how well you heal after injury. To stay looking and feeling youthful, we need our muscles and bones strong and ready to work for us—and they need sleep to do that work.
3. Your risk for accident and injury goes through the roof.
Whether you’re at home, on the job, on the sports field or behind the wheel, when sleep deprived you’re at much higher risk for accident and injury: research that shows howinsomnia is a major risk factor for accidental death.
The effects on the brain from sleep deprivation are in many ways similar to the effects of drinking too much alcohol—yet drowsy driving still doesn’t get nearly the attention as drunk driving. Some of the latest research from AAA shows drivers who slept even 1 hour less than they typically do are at significantly higher risk for motor-vehicle crashes. And the more sleep deprivation piles on, the higher the crash risk goes. The study found drivers who slept less than 4 hours the night before had more than 11 times the crash rate as drivers who slept 7 or more hours a night.
The workplace becomes much less safe when you’re sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation, highly sleep-deprived workersare 70 percent more likely to be in work-related accidents than well rested workers.
Accident risks are often talked about in relation to obstructive sleep apnea—and it’s true, that the presence of OSA raises significantly your risk of accident and injury. But NOT having OSA doesn’t protect you against accidental injury, if you’re not getting enough sleep. No matter how your sleep is disrupted or cut short, you’re more vulnerable to accidents.
4. You don’t heal as quickly from illness and injury.
Your risks for coming down with an illness are greater when you’re sleep deprived, and it will take you longer to recover. There’s brand new research that suggests sleep is more important than nutrition to healing. The study is particularly interesting because the scientists set out to test how a nutritional boost might speed wound healing, even in the presence of sleep deprivation. Instead, they found it was sleep that really accelerated healing—and a lack of sleep slowed it down. This is consistent with other research showing that sleep deprivation slows the healing process.
Sleep has a powerful effect on the immune system, so it’s not just wound healing, but all forms of recovery from illness, injury, and disease that are affected by sleep.
If you’re sleep deprived, you not only weaken your immune system, but you also deprive yourself of the time when body naturally does some of its best work to heal and repair itself.
Remember, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re not just facing one of these issues: you’re more than likely grappling with all of them. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to shortchange your sleep because something else seems more important.
Are you struggling with snoring and sleeplessness? Your next visit at Downtown Dental could be the key to jump stary your healing. Snoring and sleep disturbances are often signs of obstructive sleep apnea, and your oral health could be to blame.
Most people don’t realize that mouth breathing is a complex health concern that can lead to sleep apnea, speech impediments, and improper facial growth.
If your child is mouth breathing, s/he can learn to change the habit. That’s where we come in. It’s our job to help patients learn how to change the habit and breathe properly. Learning how to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth prevents pediatric patients from a slew of serious health issues in adulthood, including sleep apnea, speech impediments, improper facial growth, and restricted oxygen flow to the brain and other tissues.
For some people, breathing through the mouth is due to nasal airway restriction, but for others an open mouth is simply a habit — their mouth rests in an open position when they’re not focused on keeping it closed. We call this either “open mouth resting posture” or "mouth breathing”
The natural position for healthy breathing is always with a closed mouth, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
Some adults are very aware of their open mouth habit, while others have never noticed it until they meet me. Most of the time, adult patients are self-conscious about their open mouth habit, and can’t understand why it’s so challenging for them to keep their lips together when they aren’t speaking or eating.
Does Mouth Breathing Actually Matter That Much?
While having an open mouth may seem like a silly thing to be concerned about, and even a simple problem to fix, it’s actually neither.
The Serious Health Effects of Mouth Breathing
Teeth and braces: If your mouth is open, it is impossible for you to have healthy tongue posture and swallowing habits. This will limit the growth potential of your palate which will create teeth problems, such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbite, overjet, a narrow arch, and a gummy smile. Due to these complications your braces will take longer and your treatment will be much more challenging for your orthodontist. Additionally, the stability of the alignment of your teeth will be compromised once your braces are removed. This means you are likely to experience orthodontic relapse and you may need braces again in the future.
Speech: When children have an open mouth, they are more likely to struggle with certain speech sounds. The most commonly associated speech problem is a lisp, or the inability to say “S” sounds correctly. Speech is affected because when you have an open mouth, you also have what we refer to as a “tongue thrust swallowing pattern.” This type of swallowing pattern causes the tongue to protrude, or push forward during speaking and swallowing.
Facial growth and development: It’s important to realize that growth is a very powerful force. A child with an open mouth will very likely grow into an adult with flatter facial features, less prominent cheekbones, a longer face, droopier eyes and lower facial muscle tone, a narrower palate, a smaller retruded jawline, and poor chin and neck definition. By closing the mouth and breathing through the nose, these negative growth patterns can be avoided and your child will grow to their ideal beauty and health potential.
Sleep and oxygen:When adults and children breathe through their mouths during the day, chances are very high that they also breathe through their mouths all night long as well. Mouth breathing at night, combined with an retruded jaw and smaller airway, are two symptoms directly connected to sleep apnea and altered levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the bloodstream. When less oxygen is able to reach the brain, learning and the ability to focus at school becomes a problem for many children. In adults, chronic fatigue, tiredness, and brain fog are common symptoms related to these issues. During the day, mouth breathing results in poor origination of brain and other body tissues, higher CO2 levels in the body, and reduced oxygen intake in the lungs. Your nasal cavity is also not able to filter your air, removing viruses, bacteria, and other particles from the air you breath.
What Causes an Open Mouth or Mouth Breathing Habit?
It can be difficult to determine the root cause of an open mouth or mouth breathing habit. However, most people tend to have one or more of these three contributing factors:
They have (or had) a breathing or airway problem. Many open mouth habits can be traced back to breathing issues such as allergies, chronic colds/stuffy noses, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, asthma, a deviated nasal septum, and much more. The interesting thing to note is that once the airway problem is resolved, the habit remains. We see many children who have had their adenoids removed, but still breathe through their mouth. This is where myofunctional therapy comes in – muscle, swallowing, and breathing patterns often need to be relearned after the airway obstruction is eliminated.
They have (or had) a thumb or finger sucking habit. When the thumb is in the mouth, especially for an extended period of time, the oral and facial muscles will develop around this habit. If the thumb is in the mouth, the lips are not able to form a seal, and a tongue thrust swallowing pattern develops as well. Just because a child stops sucking his or her thumb does not mean the mouth breathing symptoms will go away. The same thing that occurs with airway issues often occurs with sucking habits – the habit is stopped, but the mouth breathing remains. Myofunctional therapy, along with orthodontic treatment, is often needed after a thumb/finger sucking habit has been eliminated.
They have (or had) a tongue-tie. A tongue-tie is serious medical condition—not just a common expression for when someone can’t get their words out. This condition may also be referred to as a restricted lingual frenum, or a tethered tongue. If a patient has this condition, they often need their tongue released through a simple surgical procedure in order to maintain a closed mouth posture. The position of the tongue plays a very important role in nasal breathing and growth and development, so if the tongue is limited by a physical restraint, it may be very difficult to stop mouth breathing. For patients who have a tongue-tie, they can be taught helpful exercises before and after their surgery, and eventually, they are able to close their mouth and breathe through their nose naturally and easily.
What Parents Can Do to Prevent Mouth Breathing
Now that you are aware of these symptoms, you can look for them in yourself or your child. You can get started by doing the following:
Monitor yourself or your child for mouth breathing and/or an open mouth resting posture. How often does it occur during the day?
Determine if you have any of the airway or breathing issues mentioned above, or if you’ve had them in the past.
Consider talking to a doctor who specializes in breathing and sleep. It may be time to have a sleep study done for you or your child. There are two types—at home, and in-clinic. Your doctor can help you determine the best option for you, and how to get started.
Have an evaluation with a myofunctional therapist/dentist. We screen our patients for all of these symptoms, as well as many others.
Bottom line: breathing through the mouth all the time, including when you are sleeping, can lead to problems. In children, mouth breathing can permanently change the child's growth trajectory causing crooked teeth, facial deformities, and limiting the child's health and lifespan. In adults, chronic mouth breathing can complicate and contribute to gum disease, bad breath, and many serious health conditions.