Is your dentist recommending extractions and braces? You need to read this first:
Your breathing pattern determines your teeth placement. Yep. You read it right. How you breathe determines how straight or skewed your teeth will become. And eminent dentists, like Dr. John Flutter and Professor John Mew both agree: If you breathe through your mouth you will have skew teeth – among other health issues.
Why? Because your body develops under pressure. The tiny pressures exerted by tongue placement in the roof of the mouth, back teeth gently closed and lips sealed causes the upper mandible to widen sufficiently to accommodate all the adult teeth.
How do we do this naturally? By breathing correctly through our noses! Nasal breathing is established in utero. Nasal breathing not only filters, humidifies, heats or cools and often sterilizes air before it reaches the sensitive lungs; but it also allows our tongue and lips to do the work of widening the upper jaw so that we can have straight teeth, and our lower jaw to have feedback from our brain to know where to grow to. When a child is breastfed for a sufficient period of time, this further works to establish nasal breathing, and to also develop the gastro-esophageal airway.
Babies whose tongues or lips are tied cannot create sufficient tongue mobility to assist this development to reach it’s full potential. As a result, their swallow pattern and airway can be affected – and this is a common cause of reflux or GERD as a baby and later on in life. Sadly, infant reflux is often misunderstood to be a diet or acidity issue and is treated with medicines and surgery without addressing the cause.
Without the correct breathing behaviour, cranial and facial development appears remarkably affected, causing longer, narrower faces, flatter mid-face sections, and reduced cranial size. Mouth breathing also directly contributes to cervical changes that create a forward head posture. Mouth breathers tend to have typical facial structures and development, as this picture from veteran Buteyko practitioner and author Tess Graham shows:
High, arched palates are often indicative of oral resting posture issues which facilitate mouth breathing; and will also create less opportunity for correct nasal breathing to be established which then has the knock-on effect of reducing upper airway development. This often results in chronically stuffy noses and throat issues, and starts the negative cascade of symptoms and treatments while blithely ignoring the cause: Breathing Behaviour.
Mouth Breathing also causes or directly contributes to other health problems like blocked nose, snoring, allergies, dental caries, sinus, dehydration, wheezing, anxiety and panic attacks. Asthmatics tend to only have asthma attacks during or after episodes of mouth breathing, and mouth breathing definitely worsens asthma attacks and makes them more severe.
With the correct attention to breathing – the development takes care of itself. In order to correct skew teeth your dentist should also do an airway assessment before considering braces or extractions. Sometimes, fitting braces without assessing the airway and swallow pattern actually closes off the airway and reduces it’s function even further, leading to sleep apnoea and dyspnoea. We’ve had have many of these cases!
Simply adding treatments or interventions won’t always positively change the way you breathe, and the underlying issue is a breathing dysfunction – not skew teeth or genetics.
There’s more to skew teeth than you thought and a really effective treatment plan should include breathing behaviour assessment, a speech and swallow assessment and an airway competency assessment – this will ensure a full and correct diagnosis – and will determine an effective treatment plan for the best long term outcomes.
©Buteyko South Africa
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