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My lips are sealed

Or why children should not breathe through the mouth


Text and images by Noel B. Pabalate

Teaching kids about proper oral care at a very young age is a building bridge to good health, not just investing to get a killer smile. And oral care doesn’t just mean avoiding too much sweets and regular tooth brushing. Children must know that it should start with correct breathing.

“Breathing should be through the nose because it has all these filter systems that cleanse the air before it enters the body. On the other hand, breathing through the mouth affects your health,” says Dr. Gamaliel Urbi, doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD), and diplomate of the International Board of Orthodontics (DIBO).

Game changer Dr. Gamaliel Urbi, president and founder of Green Apple dental clinic

Game changer Dr. Gamaliel Urbi, president and founder of Green Apple dental clinic

The president and founder of Green Apple dental clinic, Dr. Urbi aims to educate parents and children on the bad effects of mouth breathing and what we can do to prevent it from getting worse.

According to him, if someone uses the mouth for breathing, he or she is prone to health problems such as respiratory infections, pulmonary diseases, and even facial and dental abnormalities. The latter is common, especially for growing children.

Solution to uneven teeth different types of Myofunctional orthodontic appliances

Solution to uneven teeth different types of Myofunctional orthodontic appliances

He explains that when a child breathes through his or her mouth his or her jaw and dental arch can be underdeveloped, which can result to crowding of permanent teeth and abnormal shape of the face. Moreover, improper breathing develops “tongue thrust” that affects swallowing, speech, and chewing in problematic ways.

“Medical studies also connect mouth breathing to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When carbon dioxide drops, imbalances happen, then kids get hyper,” says Dr. Urbi. “Research shows that it can also be associated with different oral issues like gingivitis, gum diseases, sore throat, cough and colds, and bad breath.”

So what can we do to correct kids who are mouth breathers? Tell them to always keep their lips together. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Dr. Urbi introduced his patients in Green Apple to Myofunctional appliances or Myobrace, which looks like a mouth guard that kids need to wear during bedtime every day for one to three years, depending on the case. This dental mouthpiece from Australia trains children to breathe through the nose at all times.

Show off that bright smile before and after photos of Dylan, the writer's son, during Myofunctional treatment

Show off that bright smile before and after photos of Dylan, the writer’s son, during Myofunctional treatment

Myobrace is a multi-cutting edge apparatus that addresses poor oral habits like mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking. In addition, it properly expands the dental arch of a child while he or she is growing in his or her sleep, allowing permanent teeth to grow in normal alignment. It’s like saying goodbye to crooked teeth and hello to perfect smile.

Dr. Urbi promotes prevention rather than correction. “Let’s start training kids with expanders while they’re young. If you see your child developing crooked teeth, don’t wait for them to get worse, then correct condition with traditional wired braces, which could be painful and more expensive because it takes long time of treatment,” he advises.

At Green Apple, five to 15-year-old patients can undergo dental evaluation in order to know if they need to apply Myofunctional therapy. The dental equipment and services make it easy for children to see a dentist regularly. Green Apple is the first and only accredited clinic by Myofunctional Research Company (MRC) to offer intensive dental care using their orthodontic appliances. The clinics are located at select Ayala Malls nationwide.

I could personally attest that Green Apple, through the management of Dr. Urbi, is dedicated to preventing our little loved ones from oral health issues because my son Dylan had been a patient once. Dylan’s before and after pictures of his dental condition show how his teeth and face have improved drastically. After using Myobrace for two years he learned proper breathing, he stopped thumb sucking, and his crowded teeth were aligned.

As an advocate of good oral habits, Dr. Urbi believes that when you have a perfect smile you project confidence. But beyond that, he stresses that there is nothing more worry-free than seeing a child living very healthy.

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