Bad Habits Start as Babies

bad habits start as babiesMiami and Coral Gables, Florida

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is a disorder of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. Originating from insufficient nasal or oral breathing, an OMD develops when the muscles and orofacial functions adapt to that disordered breathing pattern.

Swallowing can be affected significantly by an OMD. The act of swallowing relies on a precise balance of the face, mouth and throat. Muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks and throat must work together in harmony for proper swallowing to occur.

An OMD can also cause problems in some of these areas:


Incorrect swallowing can cause tongue thrust, which occurs when the tip and/or sides of the tongue press against or spread between the teeth. Constant pressure from tongue thrust may push teeth out of correct alignment. In children, this pressure can prevent adult teeth from erupting properly.

An OMD can also cause bite misalignment, which may lead to problems biting, chewing, swallowing or digesting food.


When facial muscles are operating abnormally, it can result in a dull, sluggish appearance of the face or full, weak lips. These cosmetic issues are some of the most obvious symptoms of an OMD or incorrect oral posture.

Incorrect swallowing also has a cosmetic effect, causing a facial grimace from tightening the muscles of the cheek, chin and lips.

Tongue thrust has cosmetic effects too, causing mouth breathing or constant open lips.


People suffering from an OMD may develop speech problems. A person with abnormal oral muscle patterns may suffer a lisp or develop difficulty articulating certain sounds. An incorrect posture of the tongue and lips also can prevent someone from forming normal speech sounds.

Sleep breathing disorders

An OMD, particularly a swallowing issue, can make it more likely for a person to develop a sleep breathing disorder, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

How is OMD treated?

At Miami Designer Smiles, our professional and experienced staff can treat OMDs, primarily through the use of orofacial myofunctional therapy. This therapy is painless and consists of simple exercises that will eliminate the causes of an OMD, such as problems swallowing or the improper resting posture of the tongue.

Treatment usually consists of a regular program that incorporates orofacial exercises. The treatment program may last as long as 6 to 12 months.

Do you think you suffer from an OMD, or may need myofunctional therapy to treat a previously diagnosed OMD? Contact Miami Designer Smiles at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in the Miami and Coral Gables, Florida areas.