Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs):

Could your child be at risk?

Prevention for parents with young children

  1. Your child should stop drinking from a bottle by age one. Sippy cups are useful to transition your child from bottle feeding to drinking from a cup. However, it is NOT recommended to use sippy cups past this transition phase (few weeks). It is important for your child to drink from a cup to help strengthen muscles used for speech sounds, as well as transition from an infant (suckle-swallow) to a mature pattern of swallow.

  2. Limit your child’s use of the pacifier to naps and night-time only. Try to gradually withdraw pacifier use and eliminate it by age one to two (the same applies for blankets or other preferred toy your child sucks/chews on).

  3. If your child falls asleep with the pacifier, carefully remove it and gently place the lips together to ensure appropriate lip resting postures and ensure nasal breathing while sleeping. 

  4. Consult your physician if you notice that your child breathes through his/ her mouth/ keeps his mouth open most of the time. Mouth breathing can alter the development of your child’s face and palate. It may also indicate that your child suffers from allergies.

  5. Encourage your child to eat age-appropriate food that requires more chewing. Macaroni and cheese and P&B sandwiches are well appreciated by toddlers, but they do not offer enough chewing opportunity for your child to develop the muscles of mastication. This is important as good muscle tone helps not only with chewing, swallowing and forward dental development but also with articulation of speech sounds.

i.e. apples, carrots, French bread (harder crust), bagels, celery, granola bars are all foods that require increased chewing.

  1. Be aware of your child’s oral habits. Thumb sucking, chewing on hair, biting nails can appear trivial, however, increased frequency of oral habits can alter the development of your child’s jaw and contribute in a weakening of his/her orofacial musculature.

  2. Encourage your child to adopt healthy oral habits before they loose their baby teeth to insure optimal orofacial development.  

 

If you have question or concerns regarding your child’s dental development or habits, talk with one of our dentists to see if Orofacial Myofunctional treatment is indicated, or call us to set a consultation.