There's More Than You Think
The body cannot survive without oxygen, and it will do anything to get it. Frequently, other parts or functions of our body are compromised in the effort to breathe. Have you ever had a cold so bad that you couldn't breathe through your nose? I would bet your mouth dropped open in order to get the air your body needed and you slept all night with your mouth open (possibly drooling on the pillow). The body will quickly find a way around whatever is blocking your ability to breathe, and these natural responses can negatively affect your posture, your proper muscle functions (especially with the tongue), and the orofacial growth and development of children.
The easiest way for our body to respond to the inability to breathe is to open our mouth. Parents may notice their child is "mouth-breathing". This simple act can have many consequences. When a person breathes through their nose, air is filtered and warmed as it passes through the nostrils. This system is bypassed during mouth-breathing. Some signs of mouth-breathing (besides the obvious) include "allergic shiners" (dark circles under eyes), dry or cracked lips, noisy breathing or snoring, and even smacking during eating. You have to breathe when you eat, but that can be challenging if you can't breathe through your nose.
Sometimes an inability to breathe through the nose subconsciously leads people to lean their head forward. This can help some people to breathe better, but that head-forward position contributes to poor posture and misalignment of the body from head to toe. This misalignment leads to improper muscular function and eventually pain.
Furthermore, sleeping or lying down on your back narrows the airway, as the jaw and tongue fall backward. That means trying to rest can compound any breathing problems you already have. A lack of restful sleep can affect you or your child in many subtle or not-so-subtle ways. Your performance at work or your child's performance in school could worsen. It's hard to pay attention or focus on the task at hand if you haven't had a good night's sleep. Needless to say, sleep deprivation is a serious concern for adults or children, and breathing problems can make it worse.
Another serious result of mouth-breathing is the effect it can have on child's cranial and orofacial growth and development. Our cranio-facial complex cannot develop in a normal way if we do not breathe correctly. The tongue is a muscle that helps develop the maxillary (upper) arch, helps us swallow correctly, and helps us close our lips together.
Consider the different facial profiles and postures. You may recognize someone close to you with some of the issues I've described. Maybe it's you or your child. Would you have known that all these issues could stem from breathing problems? If you want to know more, contact Omega Dental Care at 952-460-9100 for a free consultation.