Review and Meta-Analysis
Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine’s
1. Myofunctional therapy provides a reduction in AHI of approximately 50% in adults and 62% in children.
2. Improvements to daytime sleepiness and snoring.
3. Shown effective in children and adults of all ages studied thus far
-Youngest patient: 3 years old
-Oldest patient: 60 years old
4. An important role in preventing relapse
What is an Apnea?
It is the cessation of breathing while sleeping. With sleep apnea, this cessation in your breathing stops and starts repeatedly during the night. Everytime an apnea occurs, your brain and body are not getting oxygen during those repeated breaks in breathing.
As a myofunctional therapist, I work in an office with a neuromuscular dentist who focuses on temporomandibular joint disease. I also work with another dentist who focuses on helping restore healthy airways and sleep. In our office patients will ask all the time, “Is it really that big of deal if I have sleep apnea”? The answer is YES!
Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, daytime tiredness, headaches, poor concentration, ADHD, depression, anxiety and loss of libido. Children suffering from sleep apnea can also be misdiagnosed with ADHD and poor performance at school. Untreated sleep apnea impairs your quality of sleep and the amount of oxygen you are getting during rest which directly impacts the quality of your life.
People with sleep apnea frequently have one thing in common - a low tongue posture. Simply put, the tongue is resting on the floor of the mouth, behind the lower teeth. This is a sign the muscles are not functioning properly. The correct posture for the tongue is resting in the roof of the mouth against the palate providing that internal support system for the upper jaw.
Treatment of sleep apnea may involve a CPAP machine or a variety of dental appliances. A newly recognized and effective way to treat sleep apnea is myofunctional therapy. This makes sense considering the main form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea in which the weak muscles of the tongue and soft palate fall back into the airway causing an obstruction. If we can strengthen and re-pattern those muscles, we can ease the symptoms of sleep apnea. Myofunctional therapy is an attractive, non-invasive, and inexpensive way to make significant improvement to one’s body and mind by teaching the body to function the way it was meant to!