IMPROVING FUNCTION

Myofunctional Therapy

While the tongue’s ability to move can negatively impact all these things and more, there is something that can help: myofunctional therapy.

Did you know that if your tongue’s movement is restricted, it can impact how you eat, speak or even your posture?

While the tongue’s ability to move can negatively impact all these things and more, there is something that can help: myofunctional therapy.

The Importance of Tongue Movement

If you have ever tried to talk while eating a meal, then you may be familiar with this phenomenon.

Your tongue has a lot of functions in our everyday lives. For example, it helps us taste food by moving the food around on the tongue’s surface, reaching our different tastebuds. It also helps us chew and swallow food so we don’t choke!

The tongue also plays a vital role in speech and maintaining proper body alignment. If the tongue is restricted, it can result in a forward head posture. This posture can cause neck pain, headaches, backaches, shoulder aches and other issues.

A restricted tongue can also impact your breathing; when the tongue cannot move freely, it can fall back and block the airway, restricting airflow into the lungs.

Tongue restriction can also contribute to speech delays and articulation issues. The muscles that control the tongue are directly connected to the jaw and teeth, which means any problems with those areas can impact them.

Tongue-Ties and Kids

As children grow up, their tongues tend to get longer. As a result, kids often find themselves having trouble swallowing.

This issue can worsen over time, especially for kids who have had tonsils removed. When the tongue gets too long, it can interfere with how the throat closes during swallowing.

When the tongue becomes too long, it can also restrict tongue movements, making it harder to chew and swallow foods properly.

The Negative Effects of a Tongue-Tie

When the tongue is tied down, its regular movements are restricted. This can lead to many adverse effects, including:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor posture
  • Breathing difficulties and mouth breathing
  • Articulation issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sleep apnea
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Other health conditions known as oromyofunctional disorders

What Are Oromyofunctional Disorders?

Oromyofunctional disorders, or OMDs, are a group of related medical conditions that occur when one or more of the following symptoms persist for at least six months:

  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Speech difficulties

A variety of factors can cause these symptoms; however, the most common causes include:

  • A tight tongue-tie
  • An injury to the mouth or throat
  • Weakness in the jaw or facial muscles

OMDs and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep-disordered breathing condition in which people stop breathing during sleep. When someone stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer, it is considered a case of obstructive sleep apnea.

People who suffer from oral myofunctional disorders often experience sleep apnea because their tongues cannot move properly. As a result, the soft tissue in the back part of the throat becomes swollen and inflamed. This swelling blocks the airway and prevents oxygen from getting to the brain.

People with sleep apnea are usually unaware of the problem until they wake up feeling tired and disoriented. They may also experience snoring or choking sounds during sleep.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available if you suspect you have OMDs. These treatments will vary depending on what type of OMD you have. In some cases, surgery is necessary to release the tongue-tie. In other instances, myofunctional therapy may be the best intervention for you. Some individuals may also benefit from a combination of orthodontic treatment and myofunctional exercises.

What Is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on improving the function of facial and oral muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body.

This includes the tongue, lips, jaw and neck. Myofunctional therapy exercises can help improve the way your tongue moves, allowing you to better utilize the many different functions it serves.

How Does Myofunctional Therapy Work?

MFT is a hands-on treatment involving various tools and techniques to manipulate the muscle groups involved in tongue movement.

These include the tongue itself, the muscles surrounding the tongue and the jaw.

Working on each area individually allows for a focused approach to treating the specific problem at hand.

It’s important to note that MFT doesn’t just work on the muscles themselves but instead works on how these muscles interact with one another. It teaches patients how to use all the muscles together to achieve desired results.

Can Adults Benefit from Myofunctional Therapy?

Yes! MFT has been proven effective for patients of all ages. In addition, it’s beneficial to restore proper function to the muscles of the face and mouth for those who have had an injury to the mouth or neck that has left them with weak or stiff muscles.

Studies show that MFT is even more effective than traditional speech therapy for children with OMDs.

If you think you might benefit from MFT, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We would love to hear about your experiences with our services.

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Call Now: 479-259-9060

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3301 S Walton Drive Ste 19
Bentonville, AR 72712

 

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Visit Us

3301 S Walton Drive Ste 19
Bentonville, AR 72712

Get in Touch

Call Now: 479-259-9060
Office hours: Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 4:30pm