Patients from all ages reach out to me asking if they can still get any benefits in terms of health or appearance from doing a myofunctional therapy program.
There is a well-known perception out there that myofunctional therapy is only suitable for young children. This is probably because most people know that kids’ faces and skeletal structures are still developing and dramatically changing. That translates to it being much easier for their bones to physically remodel when exposed to an external stimulus such as orthodontic treatment or myofunctional therapy.
However, in my practice so many of my adult patients have had life-changing results from myofunctional therapy. In fact, most of my patients tend to be adults who want to make positive changes and have healthier lives.
While it may seem that our bone structure is fixed once we reach adulthood, we actually know bone is constantly remodeling. That’s why a broken bone will heal and why adults can benefit from orthodontic expansion of their palate. With the right stimulus, change is possible, especially over a longer period of time.
It’s important to note that myofunctional therapy and switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing can have a noticeable effect on our oral and facial muscles. In fact, any changes to the structure of the jaws and face that may happen as a result of therapy are driven by changes to the functionality and coordination of the relevant muscles. And as I always tell my patients, myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy, just for the muscles of the face and mouth. If it’s possible to benefit from physical therapy at any age, it’s also possible to benefit from myofunctional therapy.
Myofunctional therapy can change the way we look but I’m much more focused on the underlying health concerns that go hand in hand with oral myofunctional disorders.
For example, a narrow face indicates a narrow airway, and that’s tied into sleep-related breathing problems. And a mouth breathing habit is a dysfunctional breathing pattern that can also lead to sleep disordered breathing. A low postured tongue or a tongue thrust swallowing pattern are also dysfunctional – that’s just not how the human body is meant to function.
Being in these dysfunctional states can lead to so many different problems with health including sleep apnea and other types of sleep disordered breathing, jaw pain and tension, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances and more.
Once the underlying issues are addressed and functionality is restored, then we’re on track to make a substantial difference to health and quality of life. When I say it’s never too late for myofunctional therapy, what I really mean is that it’s never too late to get healthier. Of course, addressing and treating oral myofunctional disorders early is the best possible approach. After all, prevention is always better than cure, and putting your body in a highly functional state early on sets the stage for a healthy life. But whatever your age, it’s absolutely worth taking care of your health as much as you can.