mouth breathing

mouth breathingMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Breathing, it may seem like something simple, a no-brainer if you will, but it’s not. Many people are “mouth breathers,” which means they are breathing incorrectly, and it is affecting their oral health and their body. Nasal breathing helps keep your oral health in check and promotes optimal overall health.

Why are you a mouth breather?

People often breath through their mouth during bouts of congestion or as a result of allergies. However, some mouth breathers do so because of their anatomy such as a tongue-tie or lip-tie, deviated septum, or other myofunctional disorders of the mouth or face. Frequent and ongoing mouth breathing is where the problem lies. Here are the health risks associated with regularly breathing through your mouth.

Imbalance in the body’s pH

Mouth breathing changes the pH levels in the blood, which means in your saliva too. Low pH levels in the mouth, in which high acidity is present, increases the risk of tooth decay.  An acidic pH promotes acidophilic and acidogenic bacteria to buildup on your teeth, instead of healthy biofilm that offers your teeth protection.

Dry mouth promotes tooth decay

Mouth breathing inevitably dries out the mouth and decreases the production of saliva. In turn, teeth are more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease. Even people who take certain medications that result in dry mouth, bear the same risk.

How can I stop mouth breathing?

If you mouth breath as a result of a myofunctional disorder, then myofunctional therapy may help by retraining your oral muscles to function in a way that promotes nasal breathing and proper mouth posture. Some patients may experience relief by wearing a specially designed oral orthotic to help hold their jaw into alignment while they sleep, opening the airway to facilitate nasal breathing.

If your teeth have begun to suffer from the effects of mouth breathing, the dentist can develop a specialized treatment plan to restore your teeth. For severe cases, such as enlarged soft tissue of the airway, patients may need surgery to allow nasal breathing.

To schedule an appointment, please contact Miami Designer Smiles today at (305) 595-4616. We welcome patients in Coral Gables and Miami, Florida.

bad habits start as babies

bad habits start as babiesMiami and Coral Gables, Florida

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is a disorder of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. Originating from insufficient nasal or oral breathing, an OMD develops when the muscles and orofacial functions adapt to that disordered breathing pattern.

Swallowing can be affected significantly by an OMD. The act of swallowing relies on a precise balance of the face, mouth and throat. Muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks and throat must work together in harmony for proper swallowing to occur.

An OMD can also cause problems in some of these areas:

Dental

Incorrect swallowing can cause tongue thrust, which occurs when the tip and/or sides of the tongue press against or spread between the teeth. Constant pressure from tongue thrust may push teeth out of correct alignment. In children, this pressure can prevent adult teeth from erupting properly.

An OMD can also cause bite misalignment, which may lead to problems biting, chewing, swallowing or digesting food.

Cosmetic

When facial muscles are operating abnormally, it can result in a dull, sluggish appearance of the face or full, weak lips. These cosmetic issues are some of the most obvious symptoms of an OMD or incorrect oral posture.

Incorrect swallowing also has a cosmetic effect, causing a facial grimace from tightening the muscles of the cheek, chin and lips.

Tongue thrust has cosmetic effects too, causing mouth breathing or constant open lips.

Speech

People suffering from an OMD may develop speech problems. A person with abnormal oral muscle patterns may suffer a lisp or develop difficulty articulating certain sounds. An incorrect posture of the tongue and lips also can prevent someone from forming normal speech sounds.

Sleep breathing disorders

An OMD, particularly a swallowing issue, can make it more likely for a person to develop a sleep breathing disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

How is OMD treated?

At Miami Designer Smiles, our professional and experienced staff can treat OMDs, primarily through the use of orofacial myofunctional therapy. This therapy is painless and consists of simple exercises that will eliminate the causes of an OMD, such as problems swallowing or the improper resting posture of the tongue.

Treatment usually consists of a regular program that incorporates orofacial exercises. The treatment program may last as long as 6 to 12 months.

Do you think you suffer from an OMD, or may need myofunctional therapy to treat a previously diagnosed OMD? Contact Miami Designer Smiles at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in the Miami and Coral Gables, Florida areas.

where do migraines start

where do migraines startMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Headaches can be a pain in the neck, or head rather. Did you know that a nagging headache could actually be stemming from your oral health? If you suffer from frequent headaches, especially those of migraine-like intensity, consult both your physician and your dentist because the treatment could begin with your mouth.

The jaws, head, and neck have many nerves and muscles that are intertwined. In fact, the most prominent nerve of the head, the trigeminal nerve, connects from the lower jaw to the head, and into the spinal cord. When headaches or toothaches occur, pain radiates through this nerve. If one branch of the nerve is affected by pain, it often triggers pain in other areas of the face, head, or even neck, and vice versa.

For some headache sufferers, their pain stems from a reflexive behavior such as bruxism, referred to as clenching and grinding of their teeth. Bruxism exacerbates pain that is experienced in the jaw or head. If you find that you experience a significant amount of stress in your life, you may clench and grind your teeth while you sleep. Some sufferers are completely unaware that they have this problem. An evaluation by the dentist can determine whether you suffer from bruxism. Also, regular headaches may indicate that you exhibit this reflexive behavior.

If you experience frequent headaches, be sure to consult a physician, as well as the dentist. Often, physicians only treat the symptoms of headaches and are unable to pinpoint the cause. On the other hand, the dentist can evaluate your oral health, your bite, and your jaw joints to determine what is causing your headaches. For many headache sufferers, a custom made bite guard can help by absorbing the pressure caused by bruxism, providing you pain relief from headaches.

For more information about headaches and oral health, or to schedule a consultation, contact Miami Designer Smiles at (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in Coral Gables and Miami, Florida.

what is causing that gap in your childs front teeth

what is causing that gap in your childs front teethMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Have you noticed a gap between your child’s upper front teeth? Also known as maxillary midline diastema, an upper lip-tie is present in more than 50 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8 years old.

The most common medical treatment for a lip-tie is a frenectomy, which is a surgical procedure that releases the restriction. Although these gaps between the front teeth can and sometimes do resolve without surgical intervention, taking the “wait and see” approach leaves your child at risk for a variety of behavioral and developmental problems that can stem from this type of tethered oral tissue.

For infants, the consequences of a lip-tie may include breastfeeding problems, failure to thrive, and poor bonding between baby and mother, as well as sleep deprivation. In older children, tethered oral tissue can make it difficult to chew or swallow solid foods. It can cause delayed speech development or deterioration of speech, as well as a loss of self-confidence and difficulties maintaining proper dental hygiene.

If left untreated, many of these problems magnify and multiply into adulthood, most often presenting themselves in speech problems but also affecting individuals at work and in social situations because of sensitivity and low self-confidence about personal appearance. Tethered oral tissue also can lead to jaw problems, a precursor to temporomandibular joint disorder, and even increase the likelihood of painful migraine headaches.

Yes, that gap between your child’s front teeth may close on its own, but is it worth the risk of a potential lifetime of consequences to see if it does? We don’t think so.

When a frenectomy is needed for a lip-tie, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced dentist to perform the procedure, and Miami Designer Smiles can help. Contact us at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in Coral Gables, and Miami, Florida.

prenatal care dont forget your mouth

prenatal care dont forget your mouthMiami and Coral Gables, FL

One of the most important aspects of prenatal care is to practice good oral hygiene. Did you know that your dental health directly impacts the health of your unborn baby? Studies have linked poor oral health to causing pre-term births and low birth weight. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant here is what you need to know to protect the health of yourself and your unborn baby.

Oral health and pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body undergoes many hormonal changes, and these changes affect your oral health. Some expectant mothers experience more dental issues such as cavities and receding gums during pregnancy than they did before conception. In fact, “pregnancy gingivitis” is common among many mothers-to-be, which is why practicing good oral hygiene habits is even more important to keep gum disease at bay.

How oral health affects your baby

Each year, approximately 250,000 premature births occur, and of that amount, nearly 19 percent are born too early because of gum disease in the mother. That amount is more than alcohol and smoking use combined! Oral health should continue long after your baby is born. Mothers with poor oral health can spread harmful bacteria to their baby by sharing eating utensils. So, continue with a good oral hygiene regime even after your baby is born. Better yet, begin instilling these habits in your child as soon as their first tooth erupts.

What can I do to protect my oral health and my baby?

To safeguard your health and that of your unborn baby, be sure to brush and floss daily. Regular dental visits for cleanings and exams should occur once every six months, and pay particular attention to your gums, should you experience swelling, tenderness, or bleeding, which could be an early warning sign of gum disease. Be sure to see the dentist if you experience any changes in your oral health between visits. Also, if you are a high-risk pregnancy or are taking any medications, make the dentist aware of these facts.

At Miami Designer Smiles, your oral health and the health of your baby are important to us. To schedule an appointment, please contact Miami Designer Smiles today at (305) 595-4616. We welcome patients in Coral Gables and Miami, Florida.