Connecting the Dots

What is Airway-Centric Dentistry & why does it matter?

Airway dentistry connects the dots between oral and facial growth and development with overall and general wellbeing and health. It delves into the mechanics of functional and dysfunctional breathing patterns and the contributing factors to both. 

Put VERY simply, it boils down to the position of the tongue, the subsequent development of the midface and palate and furthermore, mouth breathing or nasal breathing habits.

Since starting my private practice, I knew in theory that the mouth was connected to the rest of the body. But I didn’t actually know what the true connection was. I hadn’t found the missing link, and it was really frustrating and limiting knowing I couldn’t help people beyond their basic dental needs. Until I realised that a lot of patients all had one thing in common: their dysfunctional breathing habits.

Mouth breathing, constricted palates, tongue-ties, reverse swallowing patterns – these were all things that I saw every day, but never imagined that they could have such a profound impact on someone’s health.

Correct Tongue Posture

Ideally, the tongue should be suctioned against the palate, acting as a scaffold for the entire mind face to develop in a horizontal and forward direction. This expands the palate and allows the nasal passages, jaws and sinus cavities to grow to their full potential. This promotes nasal breathing, a patent airway and optimum growth of the face. TMJ function, body posture, myofunctional habits, behavioural and cognitive function, swallowing habits and proper sleep are all fully harnessed.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with many people, and this is where early diagnosis becomes vital. Many children start showing red flags from as young as a few days old. Airway health is a relatively new science, and unfortunately, many practitioners aren’t equipped to make an accurate diagnosis or to treat these kids effectively. The earlier we diagnose and treat, the easier it is to encourage correct growth patterns and habits. 

Long terms effects of dysfunctional breathing

The long term effects that something as simple as breathing through the nose has on one’s health is profound, and something I have come to appreciate greatly. I’ve come to realise that many people are silently ridden with dysfunctional breathing habits and subsequent disease, and airway health really can be the missing piece of the puzzle to many unanswered questions you may have.

Common signs and symptoms to look out for are:

  • Snoring/sleep apnea/sleep-disordered breathing
  • Mouth breathing/open-mouth posture at rest
  • Sleep that isn’t restorative 
  • Bruxism/grinding of teeth
  • Poor posture
  • Speech issues
  • Crooked teeth/malocclusion
  • Poor concentration/cognitive function 
  • Hyperactivity/previous ADHD diagnosis
  • Difficult breastfeeding
  • Picky eaters 
  • Recurrent sinus/respiratory illness

An Integrative Approach in a Modern World

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