Strategies for Resolving Oral Facial Myofunctional Disorders

Strategies for Resolving Oral Facial Myofunctional Disorders Red Door Pediatric Therapy

Oral facial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) can significantly impact a child’s articulation and swallowing abilities. One common OMD is tongue thrust, where the tongue rests too far forward or to the side, affecting speech and swallowing. In this article, we will explore strategies used at Red Door to help resolve OMDs, such as tongue thrust and restore proper oral function. Trained professionals, such as occupational and speech therapists, can assist in addressing OMDs.

Understanding Oral Facial Myofunctional Disorders

OMDs, including tongue thrust, can lead to issues with articulation and swallowing. Children may receive speech therapy for articulation problems without addressing the underlying OMD. It is important to recognize the signs of OMDs and seek appropriate intervention to resolve them.

Assessing Breathing Status

Assessing a child’s breathing status is crucial before addressing specific OMDs. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose can contribute to OMDs. Trained professionals at Red Door evaluate whether medical reasons, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, obstruct nasal breathing. If necessary, referrals are made to address any breathing issues before proceeding with OMD therapy.

Establishing Oral Rest Posture

Once breathing issues are addressed, the focus shifts to establishing proper oral rest posture. This includes ensuring the air is flowing through the nose, lips are closed, and the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth. Red Door therapists work with children to achieve the correct tongue placement and encourage the lips to remain closed when at rest.

Developing Tongue Tone

To address OMDs effectively, developing an appropriate tongue tone is important. Red Door therapists guide children in exercises to strengthen and anchor the tongue to the roof of the mouth. This helps prevent the tongue from lying flat or protruding between the teeth. By improving tongue tone, children can achieve better oral control and function.

Enhancing Swallowing Techniques

In addition to tongue placement and tone, Red Door therapists focus on improving swallowing techniques. A normal swallow involves the tongue moving coordinatedly, pushing food toward the back of the mouth. For children with OMDs, the tongue may thrust forward during swallowing, leading to dental issues. Red Door therapists work to normalize swallowing patterns, ensuring the tongue remains behind the teeth during swallowing.

Additional Strategies and Interventions

Red Door therapists may employ additional strategies to resolve OMDs alongside tongue placement, tone, and swallowing techniques. These strategies include range-of-motion exercises to improve tongue movement and coordination. Orthodontic intervention may also be necessary if the tongue thrust has caused teeth to shift. However, it is important to note that orthodontic treatment alone will not resolve the underlying OMD. At Red Door, we take a comprehensive approach to addressing all aspects of OMDs.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early intervention is crucial in addressing OMDs effectively. By identifying and treating OMDs early on, children can avoid potential speech, swallowing, and dental health complications. Red Door therapists work closely with parents and caregivers to provide guidance and support throughout the therapy process.


Oral facial myofunctional disorders, such as tongue thrust, can significantly impact a child’s speech and swallowing abilities. However, with the right strategies and interventions, OMDs can be effectively resolved. At Red Door, our team of trained professionals uses a comprehensive approach to address OMDs, focusing on breathing status, establishing oral rest posture, developing tongue tone, and enhancing swallowing techniques. Early intervention is key to helping children achieve optimal oral function and improve their overall quality of life.