Braces are great for straightening teeth, but pose a challenge to the patient’s experience predisposing those who wear braces to open their mouth and breathe through their mouth due to less oral space and compromised lip seal. Sleep quality diminishes as a result.
The Purpose of Braces
The purpose of braces isn’t just to align crooked teeth. Crooked teeth, also known as malocclusion, are the sign of a much larger issue – soft-tissue dysfunction. This includes the position of the tongue, which affects our airways and may cause snoring, dry mouth, sinus and nasal congestion and disrupted sleep. If the lips and tongue are not in the right position, the crowded teeth and jaws will create a misaligned jaw and crooked teeth. If the jaw shape and function are not correct, there is insufficient room for the teeth in the mouth.
The Vital Role of The Tongue’s Position
The Importance of Nasal Breathing
It’s never too soon to seek orthodontic treatment for your child. Begin looking at breathing habits, tonsils and adenoids and sleep patterns from infancy. Remind your child to breathe through their nose with their lips closed. This will cause their tongue to remain positioned on the roof of their mouth, helping to create a healthy, wide upper jaw. It’s never too late to fix this problem if you are an adult, although teeth alignment is more effective if treated earlier in life.
Coping with newly fitted braces is challenging enough, but poor sleep, dry mouth, nasal congestion and nocturnal drooling are mostly avoidable when sleeping with a closed mouth. Minimizing or eliminating the negative impact of braces on sleep quality is important for the patient and clinician.
Control mouth breathing during sleep, even when wearing braces, with sleepQ+.
Updated April 3 2020
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