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Myofunctional Therapy: Learning to Keep the Lips Sealed

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Close-up of a patient's lips

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It is not only unattractive when someone’s mouth is hanging open loosely, when lips are apart in a resting pattern, it is a bad habit that can lead to more serious issues. Learning to keep the lips sealed is a behavior that can be altered through Myofunctional Therapy.

A lips-apart resting posture is often the result of a nasal airway obstruction. However, once that obstruction is corrected, the lips-apart pattern can remain a persistent habit that must be further addressed.

When nasal breathing is impeded, the body naturally accommodated by relying on mouth breathing—which changes the natural resting position of the jaw, tongue and lips. This change in position can influence growth patterns of the jaw and maxilla, often resulting in the development of significant malocclusion.

Furthermore, long-term mouth breathing compromises the natural breathing process which relies on the nasal airway to cleanse and purify incoming air for the pulmonary system.

Causes for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

It is often difficult to isolate one particular source cause for what is known as an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD). In most cases, it results from a combination of factors including among them:

  • A restricted airway
  • Thumb sucking; nail or cuticle biting; teeth clenching or grinding; or tongue, lip or cheek sucking habits
  • Long-term use of sippy cups or pacifiers
  • Developmental delays
  • Neurological problems
  • Heredity

Benefits of Oral Myofunctional Therapy

Through Myofunctional Therapy, patients are learning to keep their lips sealed through a series of exercise that retrain adaptive patterns or muscle function or bad habits. This helps to create and maintain a healthy orofacial environment.

The benefits of Oral Myofunctional Therapy may include:

  • Correction/improvement of tongue and lip postures
  • Assistance in stabilization of teeth during and after orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery
  • Identification of the need for speech treatment

The orthodontists at Airway and Sleep Group are glad to share their knowledge and expertise on Myofunctional Therapy with you. Contact them for an appointment.


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Reston, VA 20191

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