Sport and active living is a part of any healthy lifestyle. However, sporting accidents are one of the most common causes of dental trauma and injury. So what can be done to prevent this?
A custom fitted protective sports mouthguard!
Research shows that custom fitted dental mouthguards have been found to be significantly more protective than store bought stock mouthguards .
Teeth, jaws, lips and gums can all be susceptible to damage when playing sport. A custom fitted mouthguard can lessen the impact of this damage, and prevent severe injury or trauma. In repairing these severe injuries, the cost and time of rehabilitation far outweighs the cost of making and wearing a sports mouthguard .
Importantly, when training or playing in games, a mouthguard should always be worn when there is any risk of contact to the face, not just contact sports.
Accidents will always happen, but by wearing a custom fitted sports mouthguard, you can prevent the severity of the damage done to yourself or loved ones.
Please feel free to discuss this with our health professionals at your next visit!
 Tuna EB & Ozel E, Factors affecting sports-related orofacial injuries and the importance of mouthguards, Sports Med 2014 Jun; 44(6): 777-83.
 Mouthguard use and Awareness of Junior Rugby League Players in the Gold Coast, Australia: A Need for More Education, Kroon J et al, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 2015, April 2.
Ever taken notice if your child is breathing through their mouth or through their nose? Answering a question so basic can make a world of a difference to your child’s development.
The cranio-facial complex, which includes the cranial base, facial bones and your maxilla and mandible (the jaws that hold your upper and lower teeth) are part of a dynamic complex, with certain aspects continuing to develop until the age of eighteen. The complex also works intimately with the upper airway which connects the nose and mouth passages leading to your lungs.
So how does your child breathing through their mouth possibly change their development?
Abnormal forces introduced to the normal developmental process of your cranio-facial complex can have a large influence. There has been vast amount of research regarding the relationship between mouth breathing and development of the jaws. Research has found the following developmental characteristics that may form in chronic mouth breathers [1 2 3 4].
Let’s try an easy exercise for you to understand how the forces and muscles work to lead to these abnormal craniofacial and dental developments.
Breathe independently through your nose. You will notice for you to do this, you will have your lips together, and your tongue will be resting on your palate. Nasal breathing allows for optimal tongue posture, which will naturally expand and allow the top jaw to grow to its full potential. Your muscles are working in harmony and your lower jaw will expand as the top jaw expands.
Now change your breathing to mouth breathing. In order for this to happen, notice where your tongue is sitting now? It is no longer sitting on the roof of your mouth, it has dropped, and is no longer exerting the expansive force on your top jaw. The lack of the force from the tongue in a growing individual will result in development of a narrow upper jaw and a high and constricted palate. The lower jaw will no longer rotate in the right direction and will not expand to its full potential due to the deficient upper jaw. All of a sudden, you are creating a skeletal and muscular misbalance.
Something so simple can make such a difference.
So why may your child be breathing through their mouth?
A study conducted in Brazil, and published in The Journal of Paediatrics5 found the most common reasons why children may favour breathing through their mouth. The most common being allergic rhinitis, followed by enlarged adenoids, enlarged tonsils, and finally obstructive deviation of the nasal septum.
All these causes result in the body favouring mouth breathing due to some form of obstruction in the upper airway tract.
How do you know if your child is a chronic mouth breather?
There are obvious signs of mouth breathing if they are posturing their mouth open for long periods of time, but there can be some less obvious signs that your child may be a mouth breather. These include:
How can we help?
Our team at Grandstand Dental Care take a very comprehensive and holistic approach to our patient’s wellbeing and health. We are continuously working with other health professionals such as General practitioners, Ear nose and throat surgeons, respiratory physicians and paediatric clinicians to provide a team-approach for our patients.
Your child’s general and dental development is important to us. Regular visits with your children will ensure we can monitor their development, and address any concerns we may have. If you would like any further advice regarding your child’s airway, mouth breathing tendency and their development, we welcome you to come see our team!
1. Jefferson Y (2010), Mouth breathing: adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior, Journal of Academy of General Dentistry, 58: 79 – 80
2. Harari D1, Redlich M, Miri S, Hamud T, Gross M (2010), The effect of mouth breathing versus nasal breathing on dentofacial and craniofacial development in orthodontic patients, Laryngoscope, 120: 2089-93
3. Bahija Basheer, K Sundeep Hegde, Sham S Bhat, Dilshad Umar, and Kusai Baroudi (2014),
Influence of Mouth Breathing on the Dentofacial Growth of Children: A Cephalometric Study, International Journal of Oral Health, 6: 50-55
4. Moffatt, JB (1963) – Habits and their relation to malocclusion, Australian Dental Journal, 142 – 149
5. Abreu RR, Rocha RL, Lamounier JA, Guerra AF (2008), Etiology, clinical manifestations and concurrent findings in mouth-breathing children, Journal of Paediatrics, 84: 529-35
It is not uncommon to see young infants thumb/digit sucking, but what are the implications of these actions on the infants jaw development and dental development?
A study carried out by Wagner Y & Heinrich-Weltzien R published in BMC Oral Health (2005) studied jaw and dental development of children at the age of 3, comparing those who had no oral habits, and those that did (thumb and digit sucking).
The impact of oral habits proved to have a significant effect on the infant’s baby teeth, development of their upper and lower jaws, and if ongoing, effect on their adult teeth. The long-term effects include:
So how does this happen?
Normal development of the jaw and the teeth have many contributory factors including genetics and environmental factors. Environmental factors play a strong role in influencing growth and development of children. For these environmental factors to translate into clinical abnormalities, they must be present frequently over a long period of time.
For this reason, oral habits are a heavily influential factor, with infants thumb sucking, digit sucking, or using pacifiers for prolonged times, over a period of days, months and even years.
How can we prevent this?
Firstly, recognising the presence of an oral habit is the most important, with many parents and children not realising the effects it may have. Since prolonged oral habits can cause permanent damage, stopping the habit before any changes to the child’s teeth and jaw development is noticed is ideal. If treated in the early stages of development changes, there is a possibility of correction.
As a guide, if oral habits cease by the age of six, there is a greater chance of correction.
An article published by the International Journal of Clinical Paediatric Dentistry discussed treatment options for stopping thumb sucking. Following is a brief outline of management options:
Assessment of your child’s bite and jaw development should not wait until your child has all their permanent teeth. There are many factors that may be acting on their growth from a much younger age, which if recognised and corrected, can prevent many dental problems in the future.
Regular check-ups for your children is imperative for their oral health, but also for their dental development. Our team at Grandstand Dental are passionate about prevention, and will monitor your child’s development, and communicate any issues that may need addressing in the process.
Remember, prevention is the best cure…
… and something so simple as stopping your child from thumb sucking may be all that it takes for your child to develop a perfect smile.
Wagner Y & Heinrich-Weltzien R (2005), Occlusal characteristics in 3-year-old children – results of a birth cohort study, BMC Oral Health, 15: 94
Shetty RM, Shetty M, Shetty NS & Deoghare A (2015) Three-Alarm System: Revisited to treat Thumb-sucking Habit, International Journal of Clinical Paediatric dentistry, 1:82-86