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Myofunctional Therapy: Not Just for Kids! Benefits for Adults Too

Myofunctional therapy is a type of therapy for those with abnormalities or dysfunction in the muscles used for swallowing, speaking, and breathing. Typically thought of as a treatment for children with speech and oral motor difficulties, many don’t realize that myofunctional therapy can offer substantial benefits to adults as well.

The goal of myofunctional therapy is to identify, evaluate, and treat the underlying issues causing poor oral function. These issues can range from difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, drooling, clenching or pushing, to snoring and even TMJ disorder.

Why Adults May Need Myofunctional Therapy

There are many reasons adults may seek myofunctional therapy. A person may have an underlying anatomic problem, or even certain lifestyle factors, that can contribute to disrupting the healthy-function of the oral muscles. Those with a history of habits such as thumb sucking, nail biting, lip biting, or pacifier use can result in misused and may need myofunctional therapy to help correct the issue. Additionally, certain anatomical reasons such as tongue-tie, jaw or tooth misalignment, or mouth breathing can also require myofunctional therapy.

Finally, certain health conditions, such as sleep apnea, TMJ disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD/ADHD, or narcolepsy—to name a few—can benefit from myofunctional therapy as well.

Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy for Adults

There are a number of benefits of myofunctional therapy for adults. It can help improve breathing patterns, allowing those who suffer from snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep disorders to get a better night’s sleep. It can also help with TMJ disorder, headaches, and stress caused by the muscle tension in the jaw and head.

Myofunctional therapy has also been shown to help improve the functioning of the tongue muscles and written, as well as speaking in a clearer and louder voice without straining the vocal cords. Plus, it can even help improve the appearance of the mouth and face since the muscles will be better organized.

How Myofunctional Therapy Works

Myofunctional therapy works by first identifying the problem and then creating a personalized treatment plan to help correct the issue. This typically involves a number of exercises and activities to help retrain the muscles in the mouth and face.

Additionally, certain lifestyle changes, such as improving posture, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet, can also be an important part of the treatment plan. As the muscles in the mouth and face become better organized, this can help improve overall function of the oral muscles.

Myofunctional Therapy for Adults Can Offer Great Benefits

While myofunctional therapy is typically thought of as a treatment for children with oral motor difficulties, it can also provide significant benefits for adults. Myofunctional therapy can help to improve breathing patterns and alleviate snoring and sleep apnea. It can also help with TMJ disorder, headaches, and muscle tension. Plus, it can even improve speaking, singing, and overall appearance of the mouth and face.

As with any treatment, it’s always best to work with a professional who specializes in myofunctional therapy to develop a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you. With the right plan in place, myofunctional therapy can offer great benefits to adults looking to correct abnormalities and improve oral muscle functioning.