Mouth Breathing

Is your Tongue in ‘The Spot’?

In October we wrote a blog about the plethora of problems caused by mouth breathing. You can find the link here if you would like to read it. But did you know that mouth breathing can be caused by incorrect tongue resting posture? Did you even know that there was an incorrect way for your tongue to rest?

Take a moment now to assess how your tongue is resting in your mouth. If your tongue is sitting behind your front teeth and up against your hard palate and extending to the soft palate, then your tongue is in the place we professionals call ‘the spot’. The spot is the ideal placement of the tongue when not in use. It should be allowing your lips to be gently closed, your teeth to be a few mm apart and allow for ease of breathing (and thus no mouth breathing!).

There are also health benefits from having correct tongue resting posture. Recent studies out of Italy have found that there is a nerve on the roof of your mouth that is triggered when the tongue presses against it. When this nerve is stimulated it fires up the neuroreceptors which improve brain function. These are also the same neurons which are responsible for correct body posture and muscle movement. Moreover, this spot also stimulates the neurotransmitter production of the chemical cocktail which improves our sleep and cognitive function. What this means is that if your tongue is in ‘the spot’ it will be helping you get a good night’s sleep, improve your memory and attention span amongst other things.

However, if your tongue is resting in the incorrect position it can be causing any number of problems. For example, if your child is sucking his or her thumb or a dummy, their hair, a blanket etc, this would be causing their tongue to rest on the bottom of their mouth. Continually training the tongue to rest on the bottom of one’s mouth can cause teeth to push forward. This then begins a snowball of other problems including jaw malformation and overbite. These problems can then lead to swallowing issues and poor annunciation. Never fear: these problems are correctable.

Severe overbite

If you are fearing that your child may not be placing their tongue in ‘the spot’ there is one trick you can try at home to train their tongue. A study suggests placing their favourite condiment (peanut butter, Nutella etc) on the roof of their mouth and have them lick it off several times a day. This will help strengthen their tongue as well as coax it into the correct position. If you are concerned that your child may have incorrect tongue resting posture remember that our team is here to help you in any way we can. Dr Hany, our principal children’s dentist will be able to assess and guide you through the best course of treatment.

For more information on mouth breathing and correct tongue placements, please do not hesitate to contact DentalCareXtra or KIDS. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.