Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) (sometimes called “oral myofunctional disorder", and “tongue thrust”) are muscle disorders of the face, mouth, lips, or jaw. Recent studies on incidence and prevalence of tongue thrust behaviors are not available. However, according to the previous research, 38% of various populations have OMD. The incidence is as high as 81% in children exhibiting speech/articulation problems (Kellum, 1992)

OMD refers to abnormal resting posture of the orofacial musculature, atypical chewing, and swallowing patterns, dental malocclusions, blocked nasal airways, and speech problems.[1] OMD are patterns involving oral and/orofacial musculature that interferes with normal growth, development, or function of structures, or calls attention to itself. OMD are found in both children and adults. OMD that are commonly seen in children include tongue thrust that is also known as swallowing with an anterior tongue posture. OMD also refers to factors such as nonnutritive sucking behaviors, such as thumb sucking, clenching, bruxing, etc. that led to abnormal development of dentition and oral cavity. OMD in adult and geriatric population are due to various neurological impairments, oral hygiene, altered functioning of muscles due to aging, systemic diseases, etc. Tongue thrusting is a type of orofacial myofunctional disorder, which is defined as habitual resting or thrusting the tongue forward and/or sideways against or between the teeth while swallowing, chewing, resting, or speaking. Abnormal swallowing patterns push the upper teeth forward and away from the upper alveolar processes and cause open bites. In children, tongue thrusting is common due to immature oral behavior, narrow dental arch, prolonged upper respiratory tract infections, spaces between the teeth (diastema), muscle weakness, malocclusion, abnormal sucking habits, and open mouth posture due to structural abnormalities of genetic origin. Large tonsils and adenoids also contribute to tongue thrust swallowing.

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