The role of speech therapy in Orthodontics part 2
A person who cannot bite or chew properly tends to avoid certain foods that are needed for a balanced diet, leading to poor nutrition. The foods that they do eat are not chewed or crushed properly, thus eating becomes a chore rather than pleasure. Braces can play a big part in correcting a speech impediment.
Furthermore, teeth that are crooked can be difficult to clean properly, which can lead to gum disease, inflammation and infections. These problems manifest in the mouth as periodontal disease and tooth decay, leading to early loss of teeth.
The root of many speech problems is often incorrect swallow. When a person lisps, or cannot articulate certain sounds is because the tongue, teeth, and lips simply cannot form the sounds correctly.
One of the most obvious symptoms of incorrect swallow is weak lip structure or flabby lip muscles. In this case, you will see lips that are constantly parted, a mouth-breathing habit, or sore and chapped lips. Anyone who purses or tightens their lips or exhibits a facial grimace as they swallow may be showing signs of an incorrect swallow.
It is possible for this incorrect swallow pattern to self-correct up until the time upper front teeth erupt, which is usually around age 7 or 8. Further improvement, without intervention can rarely be expected past this point. Incorrect swallow will then likely persist throughout their adult life, with all the accompanying problems previously listed. With all the dental problems present, the person may lose their teeth prematurely, leading to the need for dentures early in their adulthood. The incorrect swallowing will also affect the person’s ability to keep the dentures stable in their mouth, causing frequent visits to the dentist without finding relieve.
Since this incorrect swallow happens many times a day, the repeated action quickly becomes a long standing habit. As we all know, habits are very hard to change, and this action that happens 2000 times or more a day is no exception. Correction through therapy can take place in “middle aged” children from 9 to 12, as well as teenagers. Adults can be retrained as well. This is done through the technique called Myo-functional Therapy.
We’d be happy to consult with you if have any of the above issues – call us and make an appointment fror a complementary consultation.