Mouth-Breathing occurs with the nose is congested or occluded and oral breathing becomes the preferred method of breathing. When mouth breathing becomes chronic a long face syndrome may develop with undesirable changes to the upper arch (maxilla), jaw, nose, mouth, neck and shoulders. Mouth breathing has been linked to gum disease, gingivitis, sleep disorders, TMJ pain, and behavioral issues in children.
Open Mouth Posture
Open Mouth Posture habits continues to encourage abnormal growth and development and can likely lead to orthodontic problems. TMJ, dry and cracked lips and a narrow upper palate may develop resulting in crowding of the upper teeth.
Anterior Tongue Thrust
Anterior Tongue Thrust may develop from a lack of nasal breathing or sleep disordered breathing leading to the tongue moving forward or resting forward and pushing against the teeth. When swallowing occurs, instead of pushing up to the palate the tongue moves forward or laterally, causing an anterior (front) tongue thrust. This allows the teeth to open and become misplaced in the dental arch.
Bilateral Tongue Thrust
Bilateral Tongue Thrust may develop in the same manner as the anterior tongue thrust. However, instead of the tongue thrusting toward the front teeth, it tends to push out either side or both sides of the back teeth resulting in an open lateral bite which disrupts normal teeth eruption and orthodontic stability making proper chewing a challenge and cheek biting likely.
Thumb Sucking/Finger Sucking
Thumb Sucking/Finger Sucking are intensive habits that if left untreated may result in improper tongue rest position, posture related issues, lip strength, orthodontic issues, open bite, high vaulted and narrow upper palate, and abnormal swallowing.
Lip Tie or a restricted labial frenum located betwwen the upper front teeth may cause separation of the teeth and a restricted normal lip seal and function. Lip tie results in a short upper lip and an open mouth posture at rest contributing to malocclusion and gum disease development if left untreated.
Tongue-Tie is a remnant of tissue located in the midline between the undersurface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth also known as the lingual frenum. If the frenum is too restricted then improper breathing, chewing, and swallowing may develop. Untreated tongue-tie can lead to dental malocclusion, sleep disordered breathing, chronic neck pain, and speech disorders.
Low Tongue Rest Position
Low Tongue Rest Position is usually acquired when nasal breathing is restricted and the jaw drops allowing the tongue to lay low in the floor of the mouth. A low tongue rest is either a necessity or habit. It can create narrowing of the upper arch, chronic open mouth posture, and an unstable dental occlusion.
Bruxism and Clenching
Bruxism and Clenching is closing of the teeth tightly for a prolonged period of time. This action can damage the teeth and cause temporomandibular articulation, chewing dysfunctions, and pain. Bruxing is grinding of the teeth at night and is usually a sign of sleep disordered breathing.