If you have breathing difficulties or problems sleeping, help is at hand from Roseneath Dental Care.
Our mouths provide a gateway to our airway and our teeth act like pillars keeping the upper and lower jaws apart, leaving room for our tongue as well as maintaining a vital breathing space. Tooth loss and a loss of tooth height leads to a reduction in the airway area. Similarly, people with small jaws have a smaller airway. Humans with larger airways tend to breathe better and often perform better athletically.
During a child’s development the jaws grow downwards and forwards to form the lower half of the face. Breast-feeding promotes good downward and forward jaw growth during a critical period, enlarging the room for the tongue and airway. Backward forces on the jaws or teeth prevent proper jaw growth, and can decrease the size of the jaws and the airway. Backward constricting forces caused by bottle and pacifier sucking can cause dental malocclusion and jaw deformation, which can also reduce tongue and airway space.
Nasal breathing is now known to be vital to good health. Mouth breathing has various causes. Bottle feeding and pacifier use prevent proper jaw growth and promotes mouth breathing. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can cause airway obstruction leading to mouth breathing. If the cause of the airway obstruction is the enlarged tonsils or adenoids, their removal will lead to a reversal of the condition. If narrow jaws and an incorrect bite is the problem then functional jaw orthopaedics is the solution. Simple removable braces gently expand the child’s jaws correcting the bite and thereby increasing the airway space.
In adults, snoring may signal a dangerously blocked airway. During sleep, gravity can pull the lower jaw, tongue and other tissues into the throat. This makes a unique choking sound – snoring. Research shows snorers have low night oxygen and this can cause hypertension and the likelihood of morning heart attack.
Fortunately a simple solution is also available. We now have dental devices available that are worn at night to help maintain the airway. They hold the lower jaw forward and thereby keep the airway open.