Orthodontics isn’t just about creating a visually appealing smile, it’s also about good oral health and long-term wellbeing. With breathing problems among the long list of issues that orthodontic intervention can assist in resolving, this blog will highlight the link between jaw formation, orthodontics and breathing problems, and how an orthodontist can assist.
Breathing issues, mouth development and children
Over recent years there has been an increasing body of evidence linking the way a child’s jaw develops to the way that they breathe.
Studies show that children with prolonged breathing impairments like mouth breathing, snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea can go on to develop potential problems such as craniofacial malformation, malocclusion and jaw misalignment.
Meanwhile, it’s a “chicken or egg” scenario, with further research indicating children who have a narrow palate, or other jaw and teeth alignment issues, are more likely to experience breathing problems and blocked airways.
Why it’s important to breathe well
Under ideal conditions, humans breathe through their nose. This allows the air to be warmed and moistened before entering the respiratory system. However, a significant proportion of the population, including children, breathe through their mouth instead.
Known as “mouth breathing”, it’s a practice that can be attributed to issues with jaw formation, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies, or simple habit.
The problem is that mouth breathing can have long-term effects, ranging from a dry mouth to tooth decay, and sleep interruption. In children, mouth breathing can also result in altered facial development that impacts the look of the face and function of the jaw.
The further effects of sleep interruption
Respiratory problems are one of the prime reasons for an interrupted sleep pattern, and in both children and adults this can have profound health effects.
Interrupted sleep can lead to potential future health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. In school-aged children, it can impact their behaviour and their ability to retain information.
How an orthodontist can assist
The Australian Orthodontics Association recommends the first visit to an orthodontist should be scheduled for children aged as young as seven, giving the orthodontist the opportunity to assess jaw formation and intervene where necessary.
This early visit allows Dr Shimanto to assess your child’s jaw formation and flag potential issues that may emerge. We may then be able to offer early intervention treatment options that assist with alleviating breathing issues or encouraging the correct formation of the jaw.
Meanwhile, Norwest can also offer remedial services to assist with pre-existing problems in adults such as sleep apnoea and blocked airways.
About Norwest Orthodontics
At Norwest Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on our professionalism and care when it comes to working with patients of all ages. We feature a welcoming, friendly atmosphere, state-of-the-art clinic and a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.