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Symptoms of Myofunctional Disorder

Orofacial myofunctional disorders, or OMDs, can cause a wide variety of symptoms in patients. It is said that the mouth is the gateway to the body, which is why our oral health plays a vital role in our ability to breathe, eat, and speak. Some of the symptoms of these conditions are:

Image by Jonathan Borba

Difficulty Chewing 

Improper chewing can make it difficult to eat the foods you need for a balanced diet. You may also struggle with digestion. All these problems can take a toll on your overall health, causing weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.


Mouth Breathing 

Mouth breathing is most often caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. This causes the airways to narrow, and breathing becomes difficult. Mouth breathing also commonly results in poor posture, chronic fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

A "Tongue Thrust" Posture

A tongue thrust is when a person’s tongue protrudes through their teeth. This posture can come from a dental problem or stem from anxiety or stress. A tongue thrust can negatively impact a person’s oral health by damaging teeth, gums, and joints.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is most commonly observed during a child’s toddler years. Most children stop sucking their thumb around the age of four, but some children continue this habit beyond the age of six. Thumb sucking can cause the teeth to move out of place. This can happen with primary teeth as well as permanent teeth. If your child’s thumb sucking is causing problems with their bite, it’s best to have them stop.

Teeth Grinding 

Over time, teeth grinding will wear down teeth and increase tooth sensitivity. You may also notice jaw pain due to clenching. If not treated in the earlier stages, the teeth may wear down to the stage where they may need restoration in the form of crowns, fillings, or composite bonding.


Non-Nutritive Sucking

When a child doesn’t have a proper mouth position, they may use their lips or tongue to suck on objects, including fingers, pacifiers, blankets, or clothing. This is called non-nutritive sucking.


Nail-biting is a common habit. It’s often caused by anxiety, so people who bite their nails often tend to be nervous. It can also be caused by stress, and some people bite their nails out of boredom. Nail-biting is common in children but also adults.

Lip Biting

Lip biting is a common symptom of myofunctional disorders. The act of biting one’s lips is usually unintentional and happens during times of stress. This behavior generally results in the formation of vertical, white lines on the upper lip. Lip biting can become so severe that it leaves scars.

Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Sleep-disordered breathing, or SDB, is a broad term used to describe a variety of breathing problems during sleep. These problems range from simple snoring to obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition. In most cases, SDB is a symptom of myofunctional disorders or disorders of the facial muscles or tongue. These disorders result from poor oral habits, such as mouth breathing, thumb sucking, or tongue thrusting.

To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.

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