Does your child tend to breathe through their mouth rather than their nose? Do you or your partner suffer from loud snoring? These issues may seem annoying, but they could point to an oral health-related airway concern.
Many factors can lead to these types of breathing complications. But the shape and alignment of the mouth palate and teeth can cause these issues. Orthodontic treatment can both straighten your smile and improve airway health for many patients. Read on to learn more about how your dental and oral health can impact your ability to breathe properly.
How Does Dental Structure Affect Your Airways?
Many manifestations of dental airway concerns occur unconsciously. This means that a patient may not realize they have a breathing problem as it happens without their notice. In many cases, the symptoms present while a patient sleeps. They may snore or have sleep apnea, a condition in which airway blockage results in a brief cessation of breathing.
Both snoring and sleep apnea occur when the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax and collapse to either partially or fully block the airway. Lifestyle choices can lead to these issues, but a patient’s dental structure can cause these problems too.
A few problematic oral developments that can lead to airway concerns include a narrow mouth palate, a misaligned jaw, and crooked teeth. These issues may arise for many reasons, including genetics. But an orthodontist can evaluate the patient’s smile and find a targeted treatment.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Impact Breathing Ability?
Dentists and other medical experts can provide treatment for sleep apnea, snoring, and other airway concerns. But if dental alignment is a major factor in your breathing abilities, you may want to consult with your orthodontist to address these symptoms.
Orthodontists evaluate the position of the jaw teeth and the rest of the facial structure with every one of their patients. As they look at the upper airway, they will then factor their treatment’s impact on their breathing in each case. When they complete training to become an orthodontist, they become experts in not only positioning teeth and the jaw. They also have a thorough understanding of the structure and delicate features of the rest of the face, including the upper airways via the nose and throat. You can therefore trust them to keep this concern in mind when treating you and to make it a priority.
Patients with misaligned teeth or jaws can suffer from bite problems. If they cannot close their mouths properly, they have trouble keeping their airways clear. Their bite may also encourage the tissue collapse during sleep that causes sleep apnea.
An orthodontist can develop a treatment plan to straighten a patient’s smile and allow them to close their mouth effectively and without issue. This can keep their airways clear and also help them avoid dental concerns that develop due to open-mouth breathing and dry mouth.