Are you a mouth breather, or do you breathe through your nose?
It may seem like a small detail, but the more you learn about this, the more you will come to realise how critically important that question is.
Unstress Health invited Professor Dave Singh to talk to us about craniofacial development.
It refers to what is going on in your head below your eyes: your upper jaw, your lower jaw, your sinuses, your pharynx, and your paranasal sinuses.
This is such an important topic because the size and shape of your mouth determine the size and shape of your upper airway. And that has implications for how well you breathe, not just during the day, but while you are sleeping too. The amount of space you have in your airway determines how well you sleep. Sleep disorders and breathing conditions are serious problems.
They affect every aspect of your health – mental, physical and emotional. Getting a consistently good night’s sleep means getting enough hours of good quality sleep.
Practical advice from Professor Dave Singh
- The facial deformity of a cleft lip or palate is easily recognised, but the dysfunction that occurs as a result of a cleft lip or palate is often not considered. These kids don’t breathe through their nose because their mouth is open.
- Using a procedure called midfacial distraction osteogenesis to correct deformities in the upper jaw of children with a cleft palate, Dave and his team observed some surprising results. As a result of the treatment, the children were able to breathe properly through their noses. The airway behind their jaws had ballooned.
- In one of his studies Dave and his team identified that the high prevalence of cleft palate in the islands of Indonesia was due to a zinc deficiency. When zinc was added to their table salt, the rate of cleft palate decreased to the worldwide norm of roughly one in five hundred births.
Lack of space for 32 teeth:
- We now have the biggest teeth in human history, an increased number of teeth, more cusps on our teeth, and the thickest enamel compared to our body size. Our current lifestyle dictates that we need thirty two teeth, but our jaws are not large enough to accommodate them all.
- Between the twenty-eight bones that make up the skull are sutures. In the past it was assumed that the sutures were fused. Now, with modern imaging techniques, we know that the space between the bones is minute, but they are not joined together. Between the bones are a blood supply, stem cells, and extracellular matrix. If the sutures are stretched slightly, the stem cells react by creating more bone to strengthen the skull.
- When it comes to craniofacial health, the gap between the bones of the skull can be manipulated to create more space for the teeth and the airway.
Factors that work together to maintain a healthy airway:
- Tongue posture
- Tongue position
- The size of the airway
- The muscle tone in the airway
- Optimum pressure differential
For some further insights from Professor Dave Singh, read more about dysfunctional breathing and why the size of your mouth matters if you want a healthy body.