Are Tongue Exercises an Effective Sleep Apnea Therapy?

smiling and sticking out tongueThere is no question that exercise is important. When you work out your major muscle groups, you can strengthen your body, burn calories, increase your energy, and improve your appearance — and those are just a few of the benefits! But what about small muscles, like your tongue? Is there any point in giving them a workout? Yes! In fact, tongue exercises often prove to be an effective sleep apnea therapy in Bullard. Let’s discuss how strengthening your tongue may help you rest better at night.

How Tongue Exercises Can Help

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder wherein tissues in the mouth block the airway at night, hindering proper breathing. As a result, someone with sleep apnea may snore loudly and have multiple periods when they stop breathing altogether. This condition may lead to excessive daytime drowsiness and an increased risk of systemic health issues.

Often, the culprit behind obstructive sleep apnea is a tongue that overrelaxes. Therefore, it stands to reason that strengthening the tongue will help it to stay in a proper resting position throughout the night. Research has indicated that tongue exercises can decrease the severity of sleep apnea from moderate to mild. Some individuals are even able to avoid the use of a CPAP machine thanks to tongue exercises.

Oral Myofunctional Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Both children and adults who struggle with obstructive sleep apnea may benefit from strengthening their tongue and other orofacial muscles. The best way to do so is through professionally guided oral myofunctional therapy (OMT). During OMT sessions, someone who is deeply familiar with how the tongue and surrounding muscles work will assess how your orofacial structures function together and design a therapy program to help alleviate your symptoms.

Your therapist will show you exercises that will strengthen your tongue in order to help it maintain a proper resting position at night and throughout the day. In addition to improving your sleep apnea, OMT may provide a number of other benefits for you as well. For example, it may make it easier for you to breathe during the day and swallow properly.

Advantages of OMT for Sleep Apnea

OMT is worth looking into for most people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The therapy is relatively inexpensive, and some providers offer therapy via Skype — you might not even have to leave your house for your sleep apnea therapy! Furthermore, it is entirely noninvasive and may even help you to avoid surgery.

Do you or your child struggle with obstructive sleep apnea? Tongue exercises might just be the key to improving the quality of your nightly rest.

About the Author

Dr. Tad Morgan is a general dentist with over 20 years of experience in his field. He offers a broad range of treatments, and he works alongside an in-house OMT expert to help patients find relief from sleep apnea and a host of other disorders that are related to oral myofunctional problems. To learn more about OMT or schedule a consultation, contact our office at 903-825-1112.