A recent story published by Stuff NZ gives some background on how dysfunctional breathing can affect facial shape.

In the story a 41 year old woman discovered she had long face syndrome developed from a life long habit of mouth breathing. In mouth breathing, the tongue does not sit in its proper place in the upper palate to naturally retain the teeth in a nice and wide arch. Instead the teeth start to crowd and the palate to grown vertically, causing the whole face to become long rather than wide.

This is difficult to correct in adults requiring a long time of wearing braces and even surgery. Crowded teeth also lead to dental decay and gum disease. Luckily a correction is so much easier for children. Long gone are the days when teeth are removed to make space and avoid crowding. Today, trained orthodontists widen the jaw and put an emphasis on breathing retraining and correct tongue position. This can also avoid having to wear braces later on which should be welcome news to most parents and children. It is not necessary to wait until a child has become a teenager to see an orthodontist.

Let’s change the mouth breathing habit in kids early on! If your child’s teeth are starting to crowd then the tongue does not (consistently) sit in the right position. Become active before the orthodontist bills start to pile up. And please, pass this information on to anyone you think would benefit from it.