Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
Dental caries, the clinical term of tooth decay, affects the vast majority of Americans. Even though tooth decay is preventable, it’s the most common chronic disease among both children and adolescents, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the CDC reports that nine of every 10 adults over the age of 20 years old have some form of tooth decay.
It’s up to each of us to take ownership of our dental health to prevent tooth decay. That means brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist in Royal Oak once each six months for a check-up that includes a professional dental cleaning. Hartrick Dentistry also wants to educate you on how the way you breathe can affect your vulnerability to cavities.
Breathing through the mouth throws off the balance of oral bacteria
There are both good and bad bacteria everywhere in the world, including inside our bodies. Our mouths contain a microbiome with millions of these bacteria. Mouth breathing can encourage the proliferation of the bad bacteria—the ones that cause cavities—and that’s where the problems begin. This can be especially true for people who may have a greater susceptibility to dental issues because of their genetics. The genetic factor can create regular dental problems even if someone is diligent about their oral hygiene.
When you breathe regularly through the mouth, it throws off the pH in your mouth, which has a negative effect on your dental health. According to a 2015 study published by the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, “Mouth breathing during sleep is related to a decrease in intraoral pH compared with normal breathing during sleep, and this has been proposed as a causal factor for dental erosion and caries.”
Mouth breathing while you sleep also makes you more likely to have dry mouth because your moist mucous membranes dry out. This also means a lack of saliva, which is a natural lubricant that helps to scrub away plaque and cavity-causing bacteria from accumulating in your mouth. Dry mouth also can be a sign that the balance in your mouth is changing.
Myofunctional therapy can change the way you breathe
Myofunctional therapy is becoming one of the most popular new methods of treatment in the dental field. This type of therapy can correct an assortment of different disorders in the orofacial system by having the patient perform a series of simple, pain-free exercises that work the muscles of the mouth and tongue. Each patient has his or her own unique experience with any type of treatment, but a course of myofunctional therapy usually lasts at least six months. When the exercises are performed as recommended, myofunctional therapy can help you achieve or regain what is known as the optimum rest oral posture. This means that, when you are not eating or speaking, your orofacial system is at rest with teeth closed, lips closed, and the tongue resting against the roof of your mouth. This posture also encourages nasal breathing, which is far more beneficial to both your oral and overall health.
Hartrick Dentistry is proud to offer myofunctional therapy as part of our comprehensive range of services to our patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham in Michigan. To learn more about this therapy, call our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.