Approximately 60% of a child's facial development takes place before age 6.
By age 12, nearly 90% of their facial growth is complete.
Proper breathing is crucial for a child's facial development and overall health.
It's important to identify and correct airway problems early so that their
orofacial anatomy can be optimized for ideal growth patterns. Early exams
and interventions are key!
Dr. Slovack is a Breathe Institute Ambassador and follows their diagnostic
protocols and treatment methods to identify and correct growth and
development problems before they lead to more serious conditions.
What Factors Impact Oral and Facial Anatomy?
- Muscle function of the lips, cheeks, and tongue
- Nutrition and eating habits
- Airway obstructions and breathing patterns
When a child's airway is compromised and they cannot breathe through their
nose, facial abnormalities may occur. In most cases, these children breathe
more through the mouth. Prolonged mouth breathing may adversely impact
the health of the child, as well as the development of their facial features and
eventually their appearance as an adult.
When to Be Concerned
- Constant congestion
- Breathing loudly whenever they're asleep
- ADHD/ADD or difficulty concentrating
- Daytime sleepiness
- Mouth breathing
How Can Breathing Patterns Impact Facial Development?
Our oral muscles are extremely strong. When a child breathes through their
mouth, their tongue often presses down into their lower jaw, gradually
encouraging it to grow in a more vertical direction. Because of this, the upper
jaw and sinus cavities fail to grow at the same rate. As a result, facial
imbalances occur, impacting both facial appearances as well as the ability to
breathe freely through the nose. In turn, the upper jaw and mid-face under
develop, which contributes to side-effects like a deviated septum and facial
asymmetry. Mouth breathing may also throw off spine alignment, leading to
headaches and neck pain.
Swollen Tonsils and Adenoids
Often children’s airways are compromised by swollen tonsils and adenoids.
This problem is exacerbated with mouth breathing. Not only do they block off
nasal passages, but they can also contribute to sleep apnea. During the first
two years of life, these tissues are important for a child’s immune system
Sleep Disorders in Children
Sleep disorders in children and adolescents are common, and they present
differently than they do in adults. Poorly formed and protected airways are
major contributing factors for sleep disorders in young patients. Poor sleep
can affect everything from your child's academic and behavioral situations to
bedwetting and restlessness. Numerous studies have shown that poorly
developed airways and their affect on sleep are a primary contributor to
ADHD in children.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Mouth breathing- lips apart
- Chapped lips
- Dark circles beneath the eyes
- Forward head posture and/or tipping the forehead backwards
- Tongue thrusting
- Deviated septum
- Tonsil and adenoid problems
- Chronic sinus and/or throat problems
- Clenching/grinding of teeth
- Bed wetting
- Frequent ear infections
- Picky eater