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Airway and Breathing Malibu, CA

Airway and Breathing

Breathing is the most important and fundamental function we perform as humans. Let’s start right there. All breathing, however, is not the same. We are the worst breathers in the animal kingdom. It’s a mess that is doubtlessly getting worse. What makes a good breather? There are really only two criteria for good breathing. The first is to ensure that the our airway; our conduit that brings oxygenated air into our body and into our lungs, must be unobstructed. It must be as large as possible. It must remain clear. This means that the soft palate and other soft tissues can’t be allowed to compromise the airway. This means that tonsils can’t be allowed to block the airway at the throat. A deviated septum can’t be allowed to block the airway in the sinuses. As important as all this is the imperative that all breathing be done through the nose. The mouth, as described previously, is not a breathing alternative. It is a grossly inferior portal to the lungs The nose is, after all, the guardian of the lungs. It is uniquely designed to act to provide many functions before the air is worthy of being taken into the lungs. The nose, more specially the paranasal sinuses, release nitric oxide into the air as it is inhaled.

Nitric oxide increases the ability of air to uptake oxygen. It helps the air to be saturated with oxygen. It also provides an anti back, anti, to the air. It’s a form of super charger component, and a “medicine”. You wont get this when you breathe through the mouth. The nose also filters the air and keeps contaminants from reaching the lungs. It warms the air, it allows air to reach deeper chambers of the lungs. There are no animals in the wild that breath through their mouths. Yet, nearly 50% of us breath thorough our mouths. For anything that would Oxygen is the most important nutrient requirement for the human body. Let’s start right there. The inability to breathe through the nose will promote mouth breathing if you are a mouth breather two things will happen in time. When you can’t breathe properly through your nose you will breathe through your mouth the problem with breathing through your mouth is that you do not get adequate or ideal levels of oxygen in the air you breathe when you breathe through your mouth we know that when you breathe through your nose does sinuses release of substance called nitric oxide which will increase your ability to saturate the air with oxygen you will actually have much more oxygen in the air when you were breathing through your nose. If you’re breathing through your mouth you’re going to get poor air poorly oxygenated air. The best example of the importance of oxygen I can think of takes place when mountaineers advance to higher altitudes. air has less oxygen at higher elevations and this reduced oxygen makes it very difficult for most mountaineers to function properly.

They become listless, they become disoriented, and their bodies can literally shut down. It about low oxygen levels. The body rebels at low oxygen levels. It’s a hint.

This is why climbers bring oxygen tanks when they go to high elevations. They need to be able to breath supplemental oxygen in order to function. It can’t be stated enough but breathing through your nose just from a breathing standpoint just from a health standpoint just from an oxygen transferring standpoint is infinitely better than mouth breathing. The human body should be an amazing oxygen processing machine. We breathe for one reason and that is to get oxygen into our bodies into our brains into our organs. We don’t just need air we need the best possible air fortified with the highest levels of oxygen. We will not get that if our noses are obstructed and we can’t breathe well through them.

If I had to list a couple of the most important points made in this book certainly one of them would be the absolute imperative to breathe exclusively through the nose during the daytime and during the night time that’s probably the number one message in the book and so from strictly a breathing standpoint not we’re not talking TMJ or facial aesthetics facial proportions. We are just talking about breathing upper airway obstruction is going to be a huge problem in nourishing the body in recharging the body in beating them body in the most important nutrient that it requires.

Additionally, when we can’t breathe through the nose and we use our mouth to breathe our jaw drops back our jaws get smaller our upper arch narrows our tongue space diminishes and when we’re sleeping especially we end up having an obstructed airway because there isn’t enough room to get here in properly there is enough tongue it tongue space because the jaws develop back and not more forward those jars in the pallet and the tongue etc. are all positioned more posteriorly more in the airway in the throat where we breathe and therefore we run a much higher risk of pinching off the airway in the same way that we would crimper a garden hose and make it less able to carry high volumes of water or in the same way that we would put a washcloth in a sink over the drain And noticed that the water doesn’t drain properly. That’s because the washcloth mimics what happens when the lower jaw is set back and when you don’t have proper airway in and you don’t have proper tongue space etc. it interferes with the passage of air/oxygen.

Bruxism (Teeth grinding)

Most dentists would tell you that tooth grinding is due to stress. Science says something else.

Nighttime bruxism is very common. It is a compensatory mechanism of the upper airway to help overcome upper airway obstruction by activation of the clenching muscles which results in bringing the mandible, and therefore the tongue forward. This study suggests such a compensatory mechanism is the etiological force behind nocturnal bruxism in many patients.

Nighttime bruxism is very common. It is a compensatory mechanism of the upper airway to help overcome upper airway obstruction by activation of the clenching muscles which results in bringing the mandible, and therefore the tongue forward. This study suggests such a compensatory mechanism is the etiological force behind nocturnal bruxism in many patients.

Simmons JH Prehn RS Airway Protection. The missing link between nocturnal bruxism and obstructive sleep apnea.

Due to airway obstruction the muscles try to manage the opening of the airway. The jaw moves during bruxism and the tongue is repositioned. Resistance to airflow decreases, the muscle activity then decreases and the jaw stops moving until the resistance to airflow builds up again. It’s a cycle during sleep.

So, when there is tooth grinding think of airway obstruction.

Sleep Appliances are called MAD’s (Mandibular Advancement Devices). They are fabricated by dentists and they are an alternative to CPAP machines in many cases. It is generally conceded that sleep appliances are very effective at reducing or eliminating symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring. So, would we not conclude that sleep apnea and snoring occurs when the jaws are too far back. If bringing the mandible forward helps in keeping the airway open then why would we not be obsessed with developing faces that have jaws forward and not retruded? Why wouldn’t we focus on preventing retrusion of the lower jaw. Why wouldn’t we look favorably on occlusion protocols that bring lower jaws forward? We’ve already figured out that forward positioned jaws open the airway. Why then are we still bringing them back? Why when we have an overbite where the upper jaw is more forward than the lower jaw would we choose in virtually every case to bring the upper jaw back (headgear and power chains) instead of bringing the mandible forward? It’s criminal.