Maintaining an Airway requires your body’s undivided attention. Taking the next breath is automatic and the body wants to do it with the most efficiency.
Things we do to maintain our airway and the physical symptoms and compensations that result are:
Mouth Breathing: Tooth decay / Gum Disease, inflammation of tonsils and adenoids, allergies, stuffy nose, runny nose, asthma symptoms.
Grind and Clench Teeth: Wears teeth, creates crack lines or fault lines in teeth, makes front teeth more prone to chipping, gives teeth an “Older Look”, breaks teeth, wears and breaks fillings, crowns and other dentistry, gum disease around teeth or dental implants, gum recession, notching of teeth at root or gum line.
Tempromandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain or Disfunction (TMD):
- Over working the TMJ while grinding/clenching the teeth can damage the joint cartilage or over work muscles causing pain.
- Clicking and popping of the Joint can result. TMJ Pain can result.
- Head trauma or whiplash injury can also damage the TMJ.
Headache and muscle Pain: Prolonged working of the muscles can result in Headache and/or muscle pain in Face and neck.
Why do we work our teeth and muscles? We do it to open up or maintain our airway.
“Our brain is willing to sacrifice your teeth to maintain airway”, says Gerald Simmons MD, Cardiologist.
Forward Head Posture is a compensation that allows for more efficient airway.
- Stains muscles of Neck and posture to hold head in forward position.
- Creates muscle fatigue and pain.
- Contributes to arthritis in neck.
If our airway starts to close while sleeping our body may keep the body in stage I or II sleep and keep us from getting into stage III sleep and REM sleep where our muscles relax and airway closes. Stage III and REM sleep is when we “Heal”. We need to get into stage III and REM Sleep.
For some patients their body realizes that if they go to sleep the Oxygenation will go down. The body does not want this to happen, so the body will not let patient go to sleep or if the patient gets to sleep and wakes up the patient cannot get back to sleep.
Patient wakes up exhausted, not rested and ready to take on the day.
- Hardening of Arteries
- Heart Attack
- Chronic Fatigue
- Damage and wear to teeth and TMJ, headaches
We use up our teeth surviving the night. As we wear down the teeth over the years we use up the ability to maintain toned airway and the quality of our sleep and health deteriorate.
Autonomic Nervous System (this is the unconscious nervous system that governs your body’s processes). Made up of sympathetic nervous system which regulates breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, Parasympathetic nervous system Sometimes called the rest and digest system,the sympathetic nervous system activates what is often termed the fight or flight response. the parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
Due to this stress of maintaining airway many patients habitually stay most of the time in sympathetic overdrive. An imbalance develops and the patient is not in a parasympathetic state a proper amount of time a day.
- Increased breathing pace and volume
- Increased heart rate
- Increased Blood Pressure
As a dentist of over 35 years I have seen all of the forms and combinations of distruction that occur to peoples mouths and their whole health. My goal is to help people to understand the problem and realize there are solutions many of which are in the patients hands or under their control.