Social:Oral myology

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Oral myology is the postural training of the tongue, lips and cheeks. This technique is used to treat a range of conditions that involve in common weakness of tongue and facial muscles. For example this technique is used to retrain swallowing patterns[1] and in speech therapy[2].

Uses and applications

Tongue thrust and thumb sucking

A major component in this technique is the training of tongue posture and establishing equilibrium between the tongue, lips and the cheek muscles. Tongue exercise proved to be successful in treating tongue thrust.[3] Tongue exercise alone was reported to be successful in cessation of thumb sucking and treatment of anterior open bite malocclusion.[3] When the tongue rests against the palate it begins to expand the maxilla by applying a slow and consistent force to the lingual (tongue side) surfaces of the teeth. This can aid in the treatment of crooked teeth and under-developed face.

Sleep apnea and snoring

Oral myology plays also an important role in the management of patients with sleep breathing disorders and snoring where oropharyngeal exercises were found to reduce the severity and primary symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.[4] Poor positioning of the tongue affects breathing and allows a series of events to occur that can affect the orofacial complex.[5] Patients suffering from sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties usually have decreased tone and mobility in the cheek, tongue, lip, and soft palate, and sensory alterations with poorly coordinated nasal breathing.[6] In treatment of sleep apnea, oral myology therapy involves a series of exercises designed to improve tongue position and tongue function for a better control of the extrinsic tongue muscles and place the tongue in a ‘‘proper posture during function and at rest.’’[7]


Disruption of normal swallowing, referred to as dysphagia, has a variety of reasons, among which is tongue muscles weakness and fatigue. The tongue is a critical organ in swallowing, providing the driving forces that transport food and liquid through the mouth and pharynx. Fatigue in the tongue muscles may contribute to incomplete food clearance (residue), prolonged time to complete a meal and reduced intake. Tongue exercise to increase the muscle tone is therefore an important part of the oral myology therapy of dysphagia.[1]

Speech disorders

Dentofacial and functional malocclusions can also affect normal speech. Non-physiologic function of the tongue has been considered an important aetiological factor of malocclusions. The tongue is an important organ contributing to deglutition, speech, growth and development of the jaws, and alignment of the teeth in occlusion. The effect of the tongue on growth of the jaws and development of the occlusion is a result of its pressure on the teeth and other areas during rest and function. The number of tongue movements and the contact point of the tongue with the palate are different in the pronunciation of consonants and words. These can be affected by tongue malfunction such as tongue thrust. Accordingly, treatment of tongue thrust is essential for treatment of speech disorders, and oral myology therapy aiming at tongue muscles training is an important part of speech therapy.[2]

Intra-oral adhesive pads in oral myology

The use of intra-oral adhesive pads as part of oral myology therapy is a new efficient technique to induce and assist in tongue exercise.[8] The use of such adhesive pads proved efficient in treatment of anterior open bite malocclusion and thumb sucking in children.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Namasivayam, Ashwini M.; Steele, Catriona M.; Keller, Heather (October 2016). "The effect of tongue strength on meal consumption in long term care". Clinical Nutrition 35 (5): 1078–1083. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2015.08.001. PMID 26321499. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Eslamian, L.; Leilazpour, A. P. (25 September 2006). "Tongue to palate contact during speech in subjects with and without a tongue thrust". The European Journal of Orthodontics 28 (5): 475–479. doi:10.1093/ejo/cjl020. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Huang, Boyen; Lejarraga, Carla; Franco, Christopher S.; Kang, Yunlong; Lee, Andrew; Abbott, John; Takahashi, Katsu; Bessho, Kazuhisa et al. (October 2015). "Influence of non-orthodontic intervention on digit sucking and consequent anterior open bite: a preliminary study". International Dental Journal 65 (5): 235–241. doi:10.1111/idj.12178. 
  4. Guimarães, Kátia C.; Drager, Luciano F.; Genta, Pedro R.; Marcondes, Bianca F.; Lorenzi-Filho, Geraldo (15 May 2009). "Effects of Oropharyngeal Exercises on Patients with Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 179 (10): 962–966. doi:10.1164/rccm.200806-981OC. PMID 19234106. 
  5. Cooper, Abbey (March 2010). "Orofacial Myology and Myofunctional Therapy for Sleep Related Breathing Disorders". Sleep Medicine Clinics 5 (1): 109–113. doi:10.1016/j.jsmc.2009.10.002. 
  6. Camacho, M; Certal, V; Abdullatif, J; Zaghi, S; Ruoff, CM; Capasso, R; Kushida, CA (1 May 2015). "Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.". Sleep 38 (5): 669–75. doi:10.5665/sleep.4652. PMID 25348130. 
  7. Takahashi, S; Kuribayashi, G; Ono, T; Ishiwata, Y; Kuroda, T (January 2005). "Modulation of masticatory muscle activity by tongue position.". The Angle Orthodontist 75 (1): 35–9. doi:10.1043/0003-3219(2005)075<0035:MOMMAB>2.0.CO;2. PMID 15747813. 
  8. "Myofunctional therapy | MYOSPOTS | Australia". 

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