Why Teeth Grinding is a Red Flag For breathing issues…

The post copied below from an online forum is a typical response of parents and others who think that their health issues have nothing to do with their breathing pattern. This is an almost knee jerk reaction, and many parents do not realize the aim is not to criticize but to educate them about the things they can do at home to ensure that their healthy child becomes a healthy adult.
Most people have no clue they are breathing incorrectly and that this is the main underlying cause of their other health issues. Correcting breathing is the best thing you can do for your health because it allows your body and your breathing to become synchronized to work together instead of opposing each other.
From a online Group Forum:
Q: My child grinds her teeth. She struggles with anxiety and she has mild adrenal fatigue. She’s very stressed. Our homeopath has put her on B12, iron supplements and anxiety meds. She’s like a new child.


A: Teeth grinding is usually a symptom of sleep disordered breathing and one of the first signs that there is a pressure change in the airways.

The B12 will help as will all the other additions, but the underlying issue is the breathing, which is compromising metabolic adrenal functioning.
OP: yes I know this. She does weekly yoga. At the end of the day she’s 8 years old and is a very physically healthy girl. We can’t over therapise her.
A: I hear you…but the fact that she needs meds and supplements means she is not functioning at the best of her ability. When the airway is impaired means that there is less oxygen reaching the tissues….and, this results in physical and mental stress. This leads to anxiety and the other health problems you mentioned.
OP: she doesn’t have breathing issues thanks. We’re happy with the diagnosis we have from our very trusted homeopath and therapist.
A: I do not want to question your trusted health provider, or make a diagnosis – that is not what I am here to do. My main role is to educate the public about how important breathing function is for maintaining life!
Grinding teeth is a standard “red flag” for breathing and airway issues – even if you aren’t aware of any breathing dysfunction.
A person does not have to have asthma etc to have dysfunctional breathing – those are only symptoms in certain people who are genetically predisposed to that pattern of distress.
In our long, collective experience among many Buteyko colleagues, most people who have chronic illnesses and symptoms struggle with breathing pattern disorder issues which have been there since childhood.
Good breathing is important for the development of the facial and cranial structures that contribute to airway health and overall health of the person later on in life –  because if we can’t get oxygen to all our cells, they die.
Breathing is the main mechanism for this. 
Buteyko practitioners the world over can assure you that most people, including many health providers, are totally unaware of breathing health  – because most people take breathing for granted, treat it as automatic, and are completely unaware of how their breathing behaviour impacts their health on a breath by breath basis.
As we breathe thousands of times a day, doing it incorrectly leads to repetitive stresses on the physical structures. But worst of all, it leads to a chronic imbalance of breathing gases – leading to lowered oxygen delivery.
Teeth grinding – especially if severe – is a clear indication of airway issues.
Studies show that as soon as pressure drops in the pharyngeal airway this stimulates the teeth grinding as a protective measure to encourage the lower jaw to move forward and open the occluded airway.
It all has to do with the fact that the hyoid bone which anchors the tongue is a free floating little structure, controlled and held in place only by muscles. When these muscles relax during sleep, if the tongue cannot rest in the palate of the mouth it will drop to the floor of the mouth, and this will occlude the airway by shutting off the throat somewhat.  In a healthy person whose oral self protective mechanisms are functioning correctly, the teeth will appear to grind as the stimulus is given to push the lower jaw forward to open the throat. This can happen literally hundreds of times in a night, can cause severe problems later on, and can be prevented by restoring normal breathing patterns.
A good orofunctional dentist can help with keeping the airway open using simple appliances and exercises and this will also reduce other issues like bruxism and sleep apnoea. Most health practitioners of all descriptions in RSA are not trained in breathing pattern restoration, and that’s where Buteyko assessments and techniques are invaluable.
So when there’s teeth grinding it’s always a good protocol to be assessed for orofunction, airway competence and resting oral posture at your dentist; and to have your breathing pattern restored using Buteyko Normalizing techniques.
portrait of a young man fast asleep
©Buteyko South Africa

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