What is Myofunctional Therapy?

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By Jody Haberman RDH, Certified Oral Myofunctional Therapist

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it it’s normal. And it sure doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Due to an overwhelming number of reasons “WHY”, we as a society have normalized mouth breathing,

clenching and grinding of teeth, snoring, sleep apnea, allergies, orofacial dysfunctions, trouble breast

feeding and routine orthodontics, amongst a host of other things. These issues are easily blamed on

genetics, environment, and stress. While all those reasons can contribute, they do not address a major

root cause, limitations in our upper airway. An airway issue can pop up as something as small as mouth

breathing and light snoring and be as large as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), where a CPAP and/or

medical intervention is necessary. Luckily, these things can be managed from an early age, or managed

from where you are right now, thanks in part to myofunctional therapy.

Your upper airway consists of muscles in your face, mouth, and throat, in addition to other structures.

Myofunctional therapy is the neuromuscular re-education and physical therapy for these muscles. It is

an exercised based therapy that focuses on four main goals: nasal breathing, proper lip seal, correct

tongue posture, and correct swallowing patterns. By focusing on these four goals, we can obtain

healthier, beneficial side effects to include less snoring and mouth breathing, efficient breathing, and

reduction in OSA symptoms.

Myofunctional therapy has been around for over 100 years, though only of late has it really caught the

limelight of dental and medical practice. As our knowledge and resources grow, we find that

myofunctional therapy can not only help infants and kids, but also adults. There are studies that show

correct tongue position and function can cut an AHI (apnea/hypopnea index) score in half. An AHI is a

major indicator on the severity scale of sleep apnea. In addition, the American Sleep Apnea Association,

has studies that suggests that many children diagnosed with ADHD may actually have symptoms of OSA

and that many of their learning difficulties and behavior problems may be due to chronic fragmented


There are various reasons why someone would need myofunctional therapy. The biggest takeaway is

that myofunctional therapy is not a silver bullet and that myofunctional therapy is only a piece to an

individual’s health puzzle. Working with a myofunctional therapist and a trained dental provider guiding

your care has been shown to lead to the best results. Pearl Care Dental offers myofunctional therapy

and patients who have gone through therapy have noticed improvements in their health, their sleep and

overall quality of life. Myofunctional therapy can have a huge impact on your life and the exercises are

generally easy, can be fun, take only minutes a day and can be done in the comfort of your home!

Call today to get scheduled for a consult and see what myofunctional therapy can do for you!

Jody Haberman RDH, Certified Oral Myofunctional Therapist

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