Breathing through your mouth can actually change the shape of your face and alter your appearance. This is especially true for children because they are still growing. Children whose mouth breathing is not corrected may suffer from abnormal facial and dental development.
The term “adenoid face” is used to describe the facial characteristics of children with severely enlarged adenoids. The adenoids are located in the throat and are similar to tonsils. When the adenoids are enlarged, they force children to breathe with an open mouth. This open mouth posture changes their facial appearance.
Common features include:
• less defined cheekbones
• short upper lip
• small lower jaws
• narrow or vaulted palate
• weak chins
• sleepy and droopy eyes
• gummy smiles
• crooked teeth
How Is This Possible?
When the mouth is continually open, the developing facial muscles adapt and function improperly around this abnormal posture. These children will essentially develop muscle patterning habits around the inability to breathe through their nose which involves basic human functions such as forming words, chewing and swallowing food, drinking liquids, and even swallowing their own saliva.
This simple habit will stay with them if it is not corrected, making certain facial features permanent into their adult years.
It is important to realize that growth is a very powerful force. A child with an open mouth will grow into an adult with the facial features listed above that go hand-in-hand with having an open mouth.
How My Myofunctional Therapy Can Help
These physical changes occur over time, but the fact is, the facial features are altered. Fortunately, in children, these symptoms can be avoided through myofunctional therapy with great success. The younger the child is when they start therapy, the better.
I also work with adults who did not have myofunctional therapy in childhood.In adults, myofunctional therapy can still be very beneficial and successful. Although the facial features cannot change as drastically as in children, a clear difference can be seen once normal rest position and function are achieved.