All you need to do is breathe…
But what if you can’t?
When you wake up in the morning, do you feel like you had no sleep? Are you waking up with a morning headache that is occasionally accompanied with dizziness? Does your bed partner complain that you snored the entire night?
What if we told you this could be linked to TMJ, an over-looked but serious connection between breathing, airway problems and a misaligned jaw (TMJ). Airway issues can cause TMJ pain, an improperly formed jaw, leading to bite issues that can help set up Airway issues. It’s a vicious cycle — the “Chicken vs. the Egg” problem.
What is the TMJ/airway connection?
How is TMJ connected to your breathing passageways? How can a misalignment of your jaw joint impact your airways and lead to a host of night-time associated problems?
Your tongue is attached to your lower jaw. When your bite is misaligned, your tongue acts as a pillow. It cushions the jaw and helps it to relax. An imbalanced bite affects the size of your mouth and the altered size of your mouth no longer accommodates your tongue. Your tongue can’t sit where it should. If your tongue rests too far back in your mouth, it blocks air from getting to your lungs.
When you snore or if you suffer from sleep apnea, it can be a result of your TMJ. Snoring can increase in people that have a severe and deep over-bite. When your upper teeth cover your lower teeth, it means your tongue can be forced back in your mouth. This restricts your breathing airways and compounds your snoring and sleep apnea.
Healthy teeth leads to healthy children
When children are young, their bodies are able to adjust and mold easily, particularly in their mouth and their bone structure. Crowded teeth may force the tongue forward against their teeth, narrowing their dental arch.
With dental arches that are constricted, whether a result of genetics or from removing teeth to straighten a child’s smile, everything gets restricted, including airways, leaving inadequate room for the tongue.
Thumb-sucking may seriously affect proper jaw development while your child grows. The excess pressure that comes with the sucking motion not only compromises their airways but it can lead to misaligned arches and possibly push the front teeth outwards.
If a child can breathe normally through his or her nose, then the tongue can sit normally behind the upper teeth. The tongue pushes out to balance the force created when the lips and cheeks push in.
When a child has allergies and is constantly congested, he or she can’t breathe properly through the nose. The tongue then drops down allowing air to pass over it. The tongue no longer balances the lips and cheeks; over time, the upper jaw’s growth changes. Again, this leads to a constricted arch and this can result in a compromised breathing airway.
Sufficient sleep is necessary for your health. Without sleep, it’s challenging to function properly. If you snore or think you have a sleep apnea problem, it needs to be treated.