Jaw development

Sleep disordered breathing can start early, it frequently affects children and can affect the development of the face and jaws (a longer face, narrower dental arch and palate). As this develops it affects the workings or physiology of the jaws and breathing increases the risk of SDB worsening, in other words there is a bi-directional relationship to SDB and jaw and face development.


The effects of a compromised airway on the development of the face and jaws, and the subsequent effects on the developing airway are important to understand. Development works both ways, a bi-directional relationship.

In the above picture the little girl sleeps with lips together able to breath through her nose. Comfortable sleeping on her back she’s clearly restful. The little boy sleeps with his lips apart, mouth breathing unable to breath adequately. His neck is extended to recover his airway. His sleep is clearly anything but restful.

Do you know what concerns me most about this picture? Its a library download titled two children sleeping – as if this is normal. The little boy’s life could be seriously affected and no one would notice ….

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