Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
Parenting is hard, especially if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control estimates nearly 6.1 million children have a behavioral disorder referred to as ADHD? Children with attention issues that have the inability to focus, are hyperactive, and disinterested in school or sports may be flagged as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Still, there could be another reason behind your child’s tantrums, bed-wetting, and poor grades. Find out on today’s blog as Dr. Nancy Hartrick, a pediatric sleep apnea dentist in Royal Oak explores this topic.
What’s really going on with my child?
Simply put, a child with low oxygenation in his or her blood, meaning not getting enough air, exhibits ADHD-like symptoms. Could this mean that thousands of children are being medicated for a disorder they don’t really have? Absolutely!
How your child’s breathing patterns relate to their behavior
Everyone breathes, we couldn’t survive without air. But some people do not breathe correctly. You probably never thought there was a right and a wrong way to breathe. Nasal breathing is the most efficient and healthiest way to inhale and exhale air. Mouth breathing, however, results in lower oxygen levels in the blood, and basically starves the body of the air it needs to thrive.
For a child that chronically mouth breathes, their body isn’t receiving enough air, which means they experience lower levels of oxygen in their blood. As a result, their body suffers. Mouth breathers are more likely to have sleep apnea, which results in breathing through the mouth while asleep, snoring, and gasping for air. These breathing interruptions that occur wakes the brain just enough to disrupt sleep, leaving the person sleep deprived. When children do not get enough sleep, they are more likely to throw temper tantrums and become hyperactive. These factors alone are why so many children are diagnosed with ADHD when in actuality, they can’t breathe!
What causes my child to mouth breathe?
Orofacial myofunctional disorders or OMDs occur when the mouth and tongue do not function as they should. Tongue thrust, prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier usage, or even an untreated tongue- or lip-tie may cause a child to develop an OMD. This means the child is likely to mouth breathe and snore while sleeping. When a child has an OMD, their dental arch does not fully develop, it is quite narrow, which restricts the airway and oxygen flow. Thankfully, certified myofunctional therapists in Royal Oak at Hartrick Dentistry can help.
How myofunctional therapy corrects mouth breathing
Myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for your mouth and tongue. Specific exercises retrain the orofacial structures of the tongue, lips, and mouth to function properly when eating, chewing, and swallowing. It also corrects open mouth posture and encourages nasal breathing. Only a certified myofunctional therapist can oversee this treatment. It can benefit young children, as well as adults.
How long until I see results?
Each case is different, but results may be achieved in only a few months, or it may take longer. Factors include the age of the patient, how long they have compensated for their OMD, and their willingness to follow through with treatment. For severe cases, treatment may last between six months to a year. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker you will see results. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our myofunctional therapist, contact Hartrick Dentistry.
It may seem difficult to understand the relationship between how your child breathes and their behavior, but studies support this association. If your child exhibits ADHD or ADD-like symptoms, ask Dr. Hartrick for an airway evaluation. Myofunctional therapy is medication-free and could help your child live a healthier life.
Myofunctional Therapy in Royal Oak
Contact the office of Hartrick Dentistry by calling (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation and learn more about myofunctional therapy and mouth breathing.
Hartrick Dentistry provides comprehensive, compassionate, quality oral health care for patients in the areas of Birmingham and Royal Oak, Michigan.