KIDS APNEA.COM   The website of Allen J.Moses, DDS

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Kids with an anterior open bite are mouth breathers.  They swallow with the tongue pushing forward into an open space created between the upper and lower front teeth.  There are several possible causes for this condition.

     1.  Many of these kids keep a thumb or finger(s) in their mouth much of the time.  They use it as a prop to keep their oral airway open, especially when they get tired or because their nasal congestion is so bad they can breathe only through their mouth.  the thumb or finger puts pressure on the upper teeth and shifts them outward.

     2.  Some theorize that large tonsils obstruct proper swallowing and the bolus of food cannot be normally propulsed into the esophagus without choking.  The tongue adapts its shape, pushing forward during a swallow, so the food can get by the tonsils without choking the child.

Breathing is a primal reflex for survival.  When nasal breathing is obstructed or compromised adaptive changes in function occur.  The adaptive changes in function are accompanied by changes in structure.  Probably both suggested causes of anterior open bite are operative to
some greater or lesser extent, depending on the individual characteristics of the child.

Thumb Habit Quiz 

 Can you differentiate thumb suckers from thumb proppers?

A                             B

C                             D
Answers:  Thumb suckers are A and D.  Thumb Proppers are B and C.

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