facial growth for kids

Facial and Dental Development for Kids

facial growth for kidsThousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

If you are a parent you probably know about how you can help your child develop physically and mentally. However, did you know that how your child breathes could alter how his or her face and teeth develop?

Current medical science concurs that breathing through the nose is more beneficial to overall health. It is more efficient, allowing for more oxygen to be absorbed into the bloodstream. However, breathing through the mouth—especially when young—can alter the way your jaw grows, completely altering your appearance.

How does breathing affect the jaw?

Mouth breathing puts the tongue in a different resting position that encourages the jaw to grow vertically, rather than the ideal horizontal growth. This increases the distance between the top of the teeth and the base of the nose and can result in a person developing a long face.

‘Long face’ syndrome

A longer face does not just have a cosmetic effect. In children, a longer face increases the risk of developing malocclusion, also known as a bad bite. This affects the way you chew food, and can lead to tooth and jaw misalignment that can be a precursor to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), an ailment that can cause significant pain among a variety of other symptoms. 

A long face also increases the likelihood you become a snorer, which thereby increases the risk you develop a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. In addition to disrupting your sleep and leaving you fatigued, sleep apnea can have major consequences on your health and increase your risk of serious problems such as cardiac disease and stroke.

Therapy options

An oral appliance can be custom-made to ensure ideal fit and maximum effectiveness. This appliance will place the mouth and tongue in position to encourage ideal nasal breathing, while also pushing the lower jaw back in the preferred forward alignment. 

At Integrative Dental Arts, we also can prescribe a course of myofunctional therapy, which consists of a series of simple, painless exercises of the muscles of the mouth and face. When performed regularly over time, these exercises can correct detrimental orofacial habits.

If you have questions about oral appliance therapy or myofunctional therapy to correct mouth breathing, call (818) 889-0400. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.

To learn more about our facial development specialist, Dr. Kathleen Carson, please click here to see all of the extensive education she has to make this the right choice.