All I need is the air that I breathe . . .
When you wake up in the morning, do you ever wonder if you slept at all? Do you wake up with a morning headache that is occasionally accompanied with dizziness? Does your bed partner complain that you snored through the entire night?
What if we told you all of this could be linked to TMJ? There is often an over-looked yet equally as serious connection between breathing and airway problems and an unaligned jaw (TMJ). Airway issues can cause TMJ pain, an improper jaw formation and subsequent bite issues can help set up Airway issues. It is the old “Chicken vs. the Egg” problem.
The connection between TMJ and airways
You may wonder how TMJ is connected to your breathing passageways. How does an incorrect placement of your jaw joint impact your airways and lead to a myriad of night-time associated problems?
Your tongue is attached to your lower jaw and when your bite is un-aligned your tongue acts as a pillow. It cushions the jaw and helps it to relax. An imbalance in your 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 will block the air getting to your lungs.
When you snore or if you suffer from sleep apnea, it can be in direct correlation to your TMJ. Snoring can increase in people that have a severe and deep over-bite. When your upper teeth cover your lower teeth, it may mean that your tongue is forced back in your mouth. This restricts your breathing airways and compounds your snoring and sleep apnea.
Healthy teeth . . . healthy children
When children are young, everything about them is exceptionally moldable and adaptable, particularly in their mouth and their bone structure. Crowded teeth can force the tongue forward against their teeth which narrows their dental arch.
With constricted dental arches, whether a result of genetics or from removing teeth to straighten a child’s smile, everything gets restricted, including the airways and the room for the tongue.
Thumb-sucking can dramatically 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 it can push out the front teeth.
Allergies in children
If a child can breathe normally through their nose then their tongue will sit normally behind the upper teeth. The tongue pushes out to balance the force of the lips and cheeks pushing in.
If a child suffers from allergies and they are constantly congested, they can’t breathe properly through their nose. The tongue then drops down allowing air to pass over it. Then the tongue no longer balances the lips and cheeks and over time, the upper jaw’s growth modifies itself. 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 difficult to function. If you snore or think you have a sleep apnea problem, it needs to be treated.