Airway Centric® Health Care

Airway Centric® Health Care is an evolution in the way that we assess our patients*.

Physiological nasal (nose) breathing is hierarchically the most important function for humans to thrive.

Sadly, 55% of our children are routinely breathing through their mouths. Many, unaware of the potential consequences this could be having on their growth, development and function. Airway Centric - children with open mouths

Nasal vs. mouth breathing picture and graphic with childrenSome of these potential consequences include (but are not limited to): compromised sleep, hyperactivity/ADHD, reduced performance, energy or productivity, picky eating, regular infections (ear, tonsillitis, etc.), bedwetting, acid reflux, obstructive sleep apnea, crooked/crowded teeth, and an altered facial growth/shape.

domino effectIt is a potential domino effect that can be prevented from birth, and at any age can be improved with awareness, identification and re-education/training.

First, we must understand that Noses are for Breathing, and Mouths are for Eating, but Why you may ask?

Only when I breathe in and out through my Nose …

  1. Will the air be filtered, warmed/humidified, and air speed regulated to ensure that maximal, purified (clean) air reaches my lungs
  2. Will the volume of air/oxygen reaching my lungs be double in comparison to mouth breathing
  3. Will naturally occurring (from sinuses) nitric oxide (NO) be incorporated into the air I breathe, opening up my nose (decongestant), cleaning the air (purifying), and allowing the air to reach the lower lobes of my lungs (essential for “belly” or diaphragmatic breathing)
  4. Will it stimulate my parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), lowering my heart rate, potential stress on my cardiovascular system (blood pressure, etc.), and anxiety/worry
  5. Will I realize that there are no benefits to my health when I breathe in and out through my mouth

Newborn baby girl in pink knitted bear hatAs such, from birth onwards, for optimized growth, development and function, it is critical that we are breathing with our noses, having our lips sealed (closed) at rest, with correct tongue rest posture (up against the roof of our mouths, behind the upper front teeth).

The growth potential for children 5 years of age and under is tremendous, and no other time point in life remotely compares. If we can ensure optimized breathing and function during these critical years of rapid growth, we will be laying the best possible foundation for our children to reach their full genetic potential.

Our philosophy of care at Little Bird is for optimization and prevention, to therefore avoid or minimize treatment and correction at a later, older age. This is why we work collaboratively with pre/post natal health care providers, to see babies within their first months of life – ensuring optimized tongue and lip rest posture, nose breathing, sleeping and feeding.

Beyond babies, ALL new patients at Little Bird will receive a comprehensive airway centric examination that includes but is not limited to the evaluation of their breathing, sleeping, diet/chewing /swallowing and teeth. No matter how old your child is, identification and treatment can be beneficial. Dependent on the specific needs for each patient, our services at Little Bird may include (but are not limited to) nasal hygiene programs, Buteyko breathing re-education, orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT – exercises for the muscles of your head, neck, & airway), tongue and/or lip tie releases (frenotomies) and more. Click Here to learn more about our services such as Buteyko breathing.

As education, awareness and identification are at the forefront of improving our function.

Dr. Sigal has created age group specific checklists for you to please assess and share with your loved ones for possible signs and symptoms of compromised airway/function.

Within each group, select features are highlighted with pictures and explanations, in addition to PDFs available for download and print.

*Oral Health Magazine dedicated their entire March 2017 edition to Airway Focused Dentistry. It can be accessed through this link:
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