My kids were ignored, heed my warning: Don’t let doctors ignore yours

It took 10 years and a pediatric dentist for me to realize that I was a terrible mother. I fell into the trap of taking the pediatrician at her word. She said they would grow out of these problems, she advised medication for years before I regretfully succumbed, and she said it was all normal.

I’ll admit I started out motherhood at a deficit. I was just shy of 19 years old when I had him and 21 when I had her.

I tried desperately to breastfeed him as an infant, but his birth was fast and my recovery complicated, so we settled for bottle feeding. He was the perfect baby for the first 6 months. Most of the day was eating and sleeping with occasional quiet playtime. The moment we crossed over 6 months was a turn for his health. We battled stomach viruses that seemed to come one after the other, and sleeping became an issue so we co-slept. Which meant he slept while I dealt with blows from kicking and rolling all night.

He turned 2 and one month later he was a big brother. I resented her for coming into our lives and disrupting the time and attention I had for him. Looking back, I know I had postpartum because resent was a mild way of putting it.

With her, I didn’t want to go through the health struggles he has, so we were successful at breastfeeding. Almost without much effort from me. The only vice she had was thumb sucking. Though, admittedly, I was initially thankful for that, as he dropped his pacifier often and I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with her dropping her thumb on the floor of a retail store and wanting to place it back in.

By the time she hit 6 months, she was a loved and well-accepted member of our trio. However, we ceased being a trio by the time she was 3. I met my husband and we made 3 a full family of five.

fam

Insert chaos. He became a kindergartner, she stopped being potty trained and the baby girl S was an around the clock breast-feeder. The baby seemed to never be satiated, was particularly fussy, and had very poor sleep habits.

From kindergarten, teachers told me that they suspected he had issues. He was particularly “energetic” and difficult to “focus.” The pediatrician thought the teachers were too eager to label him with ADHD. At those appointments, I also mentioned that she, at age 3 then, would not sleep through the night, routinely wet the bed, and has numerous accidents during the day. The pediatrician wrote that off too as regression due to baby S.

Acceptable. I could and would wait it out. Only many of those problems never went away. Breastfeeding never got better and ended before I was ready due to a lack of supply. Sleep and fussiness was a consistent problem. He continued to struggle with attention as he moved up in grades.

By the time he was in 5th grade, we expanded from a group of 5 to 6 and we finally succumbed to the inevitable neurology evaluation.kids

All the while, his stomach issues persisted, she continued to amplify her sleep issues with daily bed-wetting, night terrors, and sleepwalking. Baby S, surprisingly thrived as a big sister with no signs of regression but suffered from repeated ear and throat infections. Baby L, struggled with breastfeeding and after two bouts of mastitis, we called it quits. My home was full of love but swimming in health issues. All of which were deemed “normal” and to be outgrown.

His ADHD was officially diagnosed, and after two years of resisting medication, we gave in. The girls maintained sleep issues and cycles of antibiotics for routine infections. I was the mom that would respond with a generic, “good,” when asked how the kids were.

But they weren’t good, I knew it. Motherhood is many things, but devoid of intuition it is not. I wanted help and often Googled in search of it, but nothing helped. How could I stop medicating my kids, buying night diapers for her at 10 years old, and suffering in silence?

The dentist. All I needed was a great dentist. I began working for one and in the interview, she went over airway dentistry in great length and insisted that if I wanted the job I needed to be knowledgeable and an advocate of it. I understood mildly at that moment what it meant, but it wasn’t until my kids were in the chair not long after that I fully comprehended Airway Centered Disorder (ACD).

Every single one of them had issues all directly related to their breathing. His ADHD and digestion problems, her sleep issues and persistent thumb sucking, and S & L’s ear and throat infections and nursing problems. It was always present in their facial features, oral development, and sleep habits. Just never diagnosed.

The restless sleep with tossing and turning at night. The open mouths with a tongue that would rest in between the lips. The dark circles under the eyes and chubby cheeks. The crowded teeth and thumbsucking. The hyperactivity and inability to focus. All of it tells a story of a child with an ACD.

All of it missed by the pediatrician who routinely saw my family for various issues. Yet, all I ever received, in hindsight, was palliative care that kept symptoms down for a little while or no care because they would outgrow the sleep problems.

If the medical field was aware of what so many in the dental field are coming to understand, my children would not have been ignored. S & L would have received tongue tie releases during infancy. He and she would have had a sleep study as toddlers and received treatment for their apnea.

I dove deep into myofunctional therapy, dental appliances, alternative therapies, the impact of diet, and ACD. Parent to parent, after over $10K in continuing education, I know now where I went wrong and I do NOT want you to repeat my mistakes.

4 Steps to Getting Help for Airway Centered Disorder

My Post

1. Monitor everything

How often is your child sick with a routine cold, allergies, or even asthma? How do they sleep at night? Do they mouth breathe? Do you see their tongue frequently when they talk? Are they very picky eaters, have a strong gag reflex, chew loud or messy, eat very fast, or very slow? Do they maintain dark circles under their eyes or baby like chubby cheeks?

To a certain extent, some of these things are okay when seen infrequently. Having an ear or throat infection once or twice a year with the change of seasons is not something to worry over. But having chronic infections is a concern. Note exactly what you experience with your child because it will be important when you are in front of a medical or dental professional.

2. Insist on screenings

While not right, you may experience push-back from your pediatrician or possibly dentist. Not everyone is trained in ACD and it’s impact on the growing child. Inform your pediatrician that you would like a referral to a sleep physician. Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT) referrals are usually best after a sleep study because it calls the notoriously underpaid ENT to action. Sleep apnea can be fatal in adults and is detrimental to child development, growth, and health. Your child with swollen tonsils or adenoids that prevent nasal breathing can be easily dismissed by an ENT. You should be armed with a sleep study or at least the knowledge that your child does not need further intervention in the medical field.

A diagnosis of no sleep apnea is great, but if you see other signs that your child has an ACD consult with a myofunctional therapist. We treat mouth breathing by establishing proper oral resting habits through exercises and activities.

3. Do your research

Knowledge is power. You cannot change the past and all the things you did not know, but you can impact the future. Establish a strong foundation of research on the impact of ACD on health and development.

Foundation for Airway Health, American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry, and this Airway Matters blog are all excellent resources to start your journey.

I did a Breathe for Health webinar that breaks down myofunctional therapy and how it can positively impact the effects of ACD. In 45 minutes you come to understand the signs and symptoms and the 3 step process of treatment.

4. Establish your team

Treating an ACD is hardly ever just a one-stop solution. A team can consist of a dentist and a bodyworker. A dentist and an ENT. A sleep physician and myofunctional therapist. A lactation consultant and an ENT. A speech therapist and dentist. There are a number of options and sometimes more than two providers are essential for successful treatment. Know how to proceed once you determine that there is a problem.

Stand your ground

As a parent, there are many different things people will tell you about your child. Your instincts trump it all. You know when something is not right, or feels off. Don’t be passive with their health and accept palliative care, like I did. Take a stand for them and positively impact their health for their lifetime.

Resources

Find journal articles, professional research, peer-reviewed studies and clinical evidence all compiled in one source that support the existence and clinical treatment of ACD here.

If you are a mother of small children or babies, you can intervene early to minimize or eliminate treatment in the future. Read our e-guide Avoid Braces Naturally.

My Post (51)

 

Do You Need Myofunctional Therapy: The Definitive Assessments

The frequent congestion, ear/throat infections, poor sleep, tongue thrust and mouth-breathing has become intolerable. Your dental or medical professional has informed you about myofunctional therapy as a treatment to provide you with some relief…now what?

I’ve been there. You just heard about this random therapy that seems to have come out of nowhere, your head is spinning and you want a second opinion. Absolutely something to Google away your concerns…OR…you could use this definitive assessment to verify need and validate your concerns.

Three simple key points can definitively pinpoint if you need myofunctional therapy:

  1. 3 A’s of Airway Obstruction
  2. The 1 Minute Breath Test
  3. Airway Assessment

The completion of all 3 will give you the best answer, but for those short on time, a quick result from one points you in the right direction.

The 3 A’s of Airway Obstruction

An obstructed or narrow airway has many consequences. Breathing is essential and any obstacle along the track is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Most frequently people suffering from a narrow airway will experience one of three symptoms.

  1. Asthma
  2. Anxiety
  3. Allergies

Asthma and asthma-like symptoms are directly attached to the airway. Modern medicine would typically treat the wheezing and attacks with medication or palliative treatment. However, many people have treated their asthma with a combination of myofunctional therapy and dental appliances. Widening of the dental arches in conjunction with nasal breathing has brought relief to many suffering with asthma-like symptoms.

Anxiety has long been linked to breathing and meditation. An oxygenated body is a calm body. Mouth-breathing impairs the quality of the oxygen your body receives and often establishes an environment that narrows the airway. Nasal breathing allows air to be filtered and humidified prior to reaching the lungs. Many anxiety suffers have benefited from reduced or sometimes eliminated attacks through learning proper breathing.

Allergies plague many of us and it seems that the number of allergens are rising rapidly. Congestion, sinus inflammation and post nasal drip that occurs from seasonal and environmental allergies are sometimes incorrectly associated with allergies. Those often are a result of a narrowed airway. Especially in the cases where the sufferer experiences year-long “allergies.”

If you experience any of the 3 A’s of airway obstruction, you may be a great candidate for myofunctional therapy.

The 1-Minute Breath Test

Probably the easiest way to determine myofunctional therapy necessity is to take our 1-minute breath test.

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat against the floor and take in a deep breath. Notice your mouth during the breath and repeat if necessary. Were your lips sealed? Where was your tongue positioned? Did you feel the breath in your chest?

Repeat the breath, but this time place your tongue up against the roof of the mouth, then inhale and exhale exclusively through the nose. Compare the two breaths.

If your first breath felt more labored than the second, then You’re Breathing Wrong. (<- Couldn’t resist that shameless plug)

In your first breath you may have used your mouth, had your tongue pressed against your teeth, possibly on the floor of the mouth, or breathed with your chest. Any one of those during frequent breathing is incorrect. Myofunctional therapy would be of the most benefit to you.

Our Airway Assessment

Sometimes nothing is better than seeing it all on paper. Our airway assessment has a myriad of common symptoms associated with a dysfunctional airway. It’s simple and free. Download and print your copy to see how many symptoms you experience that you may not have even known were linked.

I recommend myofunctional therapy for anyone who scores a 9 or greater.

Now what?

If you did all three and need more information before proceeding with myofunctional therapy check out our resourceful blog full of all the next steps to take once an airway problem is identified.

For those brave few who are ready to take the next step, visit The Myo Spot online to choose one of the various ways to get myofunctional therapy treatment as soon as today!

Daily Nasal Hygiene: Tips to Keep Air Flowing For Less Nose Blowing

The nasal passage needs daily care just as the rest of your body does, yet it is often neglected. Here are 4 steps to take to ensure you show some love to the primary respiratory feature of the head.

  1. Clear the path

    Make sure you blow the nose and empty the sinus as much as possible prior to taking the next steps. In order to get the full benefit of the following steps a clear pathway must be established

  2. Clean the path

    Use a saline rinse to cleanse the nasal pathway. I personally recommend a saline rinse that has xylitol in it. Not only does the xylitol add a positive flavor to the rinse, but it also helps to reduce inflammation. Insert the nasal spray tip at the base of the nostril and spray twice on inhalation to ensure the saline goes through the airway and down the throat.

  3. Invigorate the path

    The NetiStik is a great tool to help relieve congestion. The aroma opens the nostrils and provides an optimal path for oxygen. Place the Netistik at the base of one nostril while using a thumb to gently cover the opening of the opposing nostril. Inhale and exhale deeply three times and repeat on opposing nostril.

  4. Open the path

    This nasal hygiene protocol can be performed at any time of day. However, it is best performed at night. For those who are unable to perform at night, simply save step 4 for bed. Use a nasal strip on the outside of nasal bridge and secure for the evening. The strip will aid in opening the nasal airway path as you sleep. This step offers a more restful night and several hours of nasal breathing.

Adobe Spark (22)

All three products can be found on Amazon or check your local retailer for availability. So get your nose flowing with air and stop the congestion that has you constantly blowing. You are four simple steps away from a more restful night of sleep and less nasal congestion.