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Understanding how orofacial muscles influence teeth, speech and breathing



The Importance of Orofacial Muscles

The muscles of the mouth and face are unique and incredible important. They are essential to life-sustaining tasks such as eating and breathing, and they allow us to communicate and express emotion. These muscles also play a role in the growth and development of our dental and airway health. In fact, the position of these muscles when functioning and also resting can determine whether or not we have straight, healthy teeth and large, healthy sinuses.


Understanding Oral Rest Posture

It may be surprising to learn that one of the most important factors in good muscle FUNCTION is actually the position in which our oral and facial muscles REST when not in use. This is known as ORAL REST POSTURE, and it is the primary focus of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy.


When our Oral Rest Posture is correct, there is harmony and equilibrium between our muscles and our bones. A child with good Oral Rest Posture and good muscle function will be more likely to develop larger jaws that are able to accommodate the adult teeth without crowding. When the jaws develop properly, the sinus cavity grows to an appropriate size, leading to healthier breathing. When the tongue, lips and jaws are positioned correctly, it leads the way to better, clearer speech, and prevents relapse of orthodontic treatment.


Correcting Oral Rest Posture and function can improve:

  • Facial appearance

  • Dental occlusion

  • Speech/Artucilation

  • Tongue thrust swallow

  • Breathing patterns


Source: International Association of Orofacial Myology