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The Link Between Breathing Difficulties and an Overbite

The Link Between Breathing Difficulties and an Overbite

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and development — so rapid, it can sometimes seem like your child has grown overnight. During this time, understanding the factors that can affect growth and development is essential, including factors that can play a role in your child’s oral and jaw development.

Overbites are a common type of bite problem, and without proper treatment, they can also cause breathing issues that can persist through your adult years. 

At Constant and Contro Orthodontics in Cupertino and Palo Alto, California, our team offers orthodontic treatment for adults and kids, helping all ages prevent or relieve breathing problems and enjoy better oral health. 

Here, learn how overbites and breathing are related, and how we can help you manage both. 

Overbites and breathing

An overbite happens when your upper front teeth extend farther than normal over and in front of your lower front teeth. While an overbite might not seem like a big deal, without prompt correction, it can lead to some fairly well-known problems, like jaw or facial pain and an increased risk of tooth decay.

 

What a lot of people don’t know, though, is that an overbite can also influence how your child breathes — and at the same time, breathing difficulties can affect your child’s jaw development, as well as their risk of developing an overbite. Kids aren’t the only ones affected, either. If you have an overbite that wasn’t ever treated, you could be at risk of breathing problems too.

Mouth breathing

Many kids (and adults) are mouth breathers, breathing primarily through your mouth instead of your nose. Mouth breathing alters the way you use your facial muscles, which in turn influences the growth and development of your jaw and teeth — changes that increase the risk of developing bite problems, like overbites. 

Respiratory conditions

Mouth breathing often occurs in kids with asthma or chronic allergies, or in kids with sinus issues or troubles with their tonsils or adenoids. Severe or chronic respiratory problems can affect the shape and function of their nasal passages during growth and development, issues that can follow your child throughout their lifetime.

Tongue position

Tongue thrusting and other abnormalities with tongue placement, size, or anatomy can contribute to overbite and breathing problems. Jaw development depends on stimulation from the tongue, and if your child’s tongue size or position is altered, it can affect their jaw growth. 

At the same time, a large tongue or an unusual tongue resting position can wind up blocking their breathing.

Sleep apnea

Finally, when an overbite affects your breathing, it can also increase your risk of sleep apnea, a condition that interrupts breathing dozens of times during sleep. 

Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, obesity, and other health complications. In addition to traditional orthodontic treatment, our team offers therapies specifically focused on sleep apnea and its risks.

Treating an overbite

Overbites are common, and they’re also easily treated with orthodontics. Fortunately, overbites respond to both braces and aligners, so you can have the treatment that best suits your needs, goals, and preferences. Our team offers braces for kids and teens, as well as adults, helping you find solutions for your bite problems regardless of age.

Among younger children, we may suggest interventional treatment focused on preventing or lessening overbites by optimizing your child’s oral growth. For instance, palatal expanders are often used to gently widen an abnormally narrow palate, giving their teeth more space and supporting normal bite mechanics and jaw development.

If you or your child have an overbite or another orthodontic issue that’s affecting your breathing, a consultation is the best way to learn how we can help. To schedule your visit, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Constant and Contro Orthodontics today.

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