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Monday, February 13, 2017

Oral Myofunctional Disorder And How Enrolling In Speech Language Therapy Can Help

Orofacial myofunctional disorders occur when the tongue, lips, or jaw procure abnormal or exaggerated movement – impairing a person’s ability to speak or even swallow.  A common example of this disorder is ”tongue thrust”, where the tongue rests against or between the teeth during swallowing instead of lifting up into the roof of the mouth.

While many orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) are learned, or develop out of habit – they can cause a lot of stress; diminishing the quality of a person’s interactions with the world as well as impeding on their overall health. These irregular activities of the mouth can contribute to more serious dental problems such as an incorrectly positioned jaw, or teeth.


Though oral quirks such as tongue thrust or thumb sucking are common in infants, they tend to disappear by early childhood. However, 81% of children who suffer from speech-language difficulties do so from an underlying OMD. If the issues remain unaddressed, they can follow a person into adulthood and become that much harder to correct. When an OMD is caused by upper airway constrictions, obstructions, or infections, a doctor may be the first to notice. It may also be caused by low body tone, imbalance in dental growth (often caught by a dentist or oral hygienist), or inadequate development of facial bones or muscles in the head and neck.

While a dentist or doctor may notice the physical repercussions, it’s always better to catch an OMD before it starts causing more serious disruptions. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from an OMD, a Speech-Language Pathologist can help asses what’s causing it, then work with the client to become cognisant of certain tendencies so they can overcome them.

If you are looking for a speech therapist in Toronto, there are a number of solid options. One such choice is Simone Friedman SLS located conveniently in the west end and offering personalized treatment for people suffering from OMDs occurring habitually, due to physical abnormalities, or as a result of a developmental disability.

A trained Speech-Language Pathologist works with clients on their pronunciation, articulation and tongue movements when speaking, as well as to subdue the core issue which may include incorrect mouth posture, speech sound errors or a swallowing disorder. Techniques for therapy may include increasing awareness of the mouth, facial muscles, and postures of the tongue. As well, they will work with the client to improve muscle strength and coordination, speech production, and correct swallowing patterns. If speech malfunctions are the cause of habits such as lip-biting or thumb sucking – a therapist will focus treatment to eliminate these behaviors first.

Regardless of its initial cause, the development of an OMD can interfere with a person’s ability to communicate, their comfort, as well as their health and well being. The earlier a client can seek out treatment, the sooner they can identify the core issues obstructing speech and other functions. Contact a Speech-Language pathologist today to provide your loved one with the attention they need to re-establish their normal.

This is a guest blog entry.

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