So what is a Myo Munchee and why would your child need one?
As a mom, a dental hygienist and a myofunctional therapist I have learned about this unique device that initiates natural chewing. I wish I had this when my daughter was 2. Chewing is essential for the growth and development of the jaw,palate and facial structures in children.
Myo Munchies slogan is a Small Device with a Big Impact. Their mission is to make a real difference in the lives of patients all over the world in just 10 minutes a day, with this amazing powerful little device that will help get facial function back on track, promote nasal breathing and improve overall health. I took most of what I am sharing today right off the website. I just came back from a collaboration cures event in Arizona with many of the top providers of airway and systemic health.
In the last three hundred years, and since the industrial revolution, western diet and lifestyle was introduced. Primitive cultures were chewing nuts, seeds, bones,and raw vegetables-which was great exercise for the jaw and stimulated bone growth. We have changed to softer foods, reduced nutritional diversity, and have rapidly decreased the range of exercise our jaws perform on a daily basis. This has essentially removed the natural cues for healthy oral development. Chewing, swallowing and movement of our tongue has been outsourced and other parts of our body have made compensations.
Chewing enhances the strength of jaw and mouth muscles to assist in optimal oral health. Lip and tongue strength improves chewing and swallowing patterns triggering natural chewing motions and increasing lip, tongue and facial strength.
Strengthening muscles helps with lip seal to assist with the benefits of nasal breathing and swallowing. Chewing also functions like a toothbrush: cleaning our teeth, producing saliva to bathe our teeth, and it increases nasal breathing which oxygenates our organs.
“What is Myo Munchee and how do we use it in therapy?”
This is usually one of the first questions asked after a dentist or other health professional suggests it might help with oral development.
Myo Munchee therapy can help people of just about any age who have issues related to underdeveloped oral muscles. It promotes healthy development of facial muscle strength and encourages nasal breathing.
Disclaimer: this isn’t a substitute for individualized dental or medical care. Therapy of any kind works best and has more predictable outcomes when individualized for each person.
What Does Myo Munchee Therapy Help With?
Chronic mouth breathing is a very common issue among children and adults. In children, if left untreated, it can contribute to or lead to abnormal facial and airway growth or more serious developmental and health issues. When included within a treatment plan, Myo Munchee therapy can be used to strengthen muscles that help establish stronger facial muscles and better nose breathing.
Some people with sleep apnea also find Myomunchee helpful since mouth breathing is part of the problem associated with sleep apnea. Typically, when the airways are blocked to make nose breathing less effective, people compensate by breathing through the mouth. Which leads to snoring, teeth grinding and nighttime arousals and bedwetting for kids or waking up to pee for adults. Our body wakes us up to let us know we need to change positions to get more oxygen.
In some cases, Myomunchee may help with:
- Correcting some orofacial muscular functions
- Getting children to stop thumb sucking
- Assist with jaw development in growing children
- Improving speech
- Assisting in the drainage of the eustachian tubes, it can help reduce ear infections.
Talk with your professional about which benefits may apply to you or your child. Myo Munchee and other myofunctional exercises and physical therapy for the mouth.
Signs you or your child might benefit from using this device
- Mouth breathing
- Open lip posture
- Messy eating
- Issues with drooling
- Misaligned or crooked teeth
- Ear and sinus congestion
- Teeth clenching or grinding
People of just about any age group starting as young as 18 months, may benefit from using a Myo Munchee. Some providers recommend it for toddlers who have trouble giving up their pacifier or thumb sucking. Habitual thumbsucking or pacifier use can negatively influence growth and development.
Children who get recurring ear infections or are chronic mouth breathers also benefit from therapy. Teens and adults with mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, or other issues may also benefit.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy it is used to treat:
- Oral dysfunction
- Chronic mouth breathing
- Poor tongue posture
- Sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Habitual thumb or finger sucking
- Problems with low muscle tone and lip posture
Problems Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders May Cause or Exacerbate
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders may contribute to a variety of oral health concerns, including:
- Misaligned teeth
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- Abnormal jaw growth
- Dry mouth
- Gum Disease
- Difficulty breathing or sleeping
- Problems with ear drainage
- Chronic headaches
What is a Myomunchee Device?
A Myo Munchee is a device made from medical-grade silicone designed to exercise the oral muscles or strengthen the stomatognathic system. It helps you develop better chewing, breathing, sleeping, and other facets of overall health.
Your provider fits you for the device that you will use for around six months, depending on your treatment recommendations. These exercises help strengthen the area in and around the mouth and jaw.
One exercise is simple: chew with lips together and swallow with lips together! Start with just one minute twice a day and gradually work up to around 10 minutes twice a day. Be sure to rinse your Myo Munchee device before and after each use. It can be submerged in hot water; check the manufacturer’s instructions for details on cleaning your appliance.
Depending on the treatment plan, the Myo Munchee can be used either actively or more passively. Passive use may be simply holding the appliance in your mouth with the tongue up. Sometimes passive use is recommended to allow the mouth to rest while also promoting nose breathing.
The chewing exercises designed to tone and strengthen facial muscles would be considered active use. Active use promotes muscle toning.
The Myo Munchee device was originally developed in the 1960s by a dentist named Dr. Kevin Bourke. The goal was to help children develop the muscles that support chewing, breathing, and other activities that influence facial cranial development.
During Myofunctional Therapy, the goals are usually to:
- Develop oral muscles, including the tongue and lip muscles
- Correct any problems swallowing
- Encourage correct posture of the lips and tongue
- Promote mouth breathing
- Ensure healthy development
The use of the Myo Munchee also stimulates saliva production, which can be highly beneficial for some people since a dry mouth is associated with a variety of oral health issues, including tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Health history is an important part of treatment. When you or a family member visits a myofunctional therapist, keep that therapist informed of any other health issues, medications, and treatments you are currently using. Sometimes it is easy to overlook vital information your dentist or therapist needs.
Parents have kids with a range of needs, from the simple to the complex.
Fundamentally the Myo Munchee is a simple concept. This simplicity is the reason it’s popular with many types of practitioners.
Myo Munchee walks both parents and practitioners through the benefits of chewing more at an early age.
Weakness of the lips, face and tongue can impact so many important functions of the body and problems can be difficult to spot and to link.
If the Munchee is for a young child, create a sense of excitement around the appliance coming, especially if you’re using it as a replacement for a dummy/pacifier.
How do you use a Munchee?
Always rinse the Munchee before use. The Munchee can be submerged in freshly boiled water for 60 seconds to sterilize.
Ensure the Munchee is placed in the mouth with the “lips” indent at the top. Always keep the lips closed around the Munchee while chewing, this not only strengthens the muscles, it prevents excessive wear on the appliance.
Keep your chewing even and on both sides, chewing excessively or exclusively on one side will not only weaken the Munchee, it will develop muscles unevenly.
Rinse after use in cold running water and dry thoroughly. Aim for 5 mins of active chewing, twice a day as an ideal protocol
How often do I need to use a Munchee?
For general oral health and keeping muscles strong the Munchee works if you or your child can chew for 5 mins twice a day. For 18 months to 5-years change should be evident in about 4 weeks and chewing should continue for life.
Active use means “munching” with the Munchee in the mouth The sequence is as follows:
- Insert the Munchee correctly with the “v” shaped notch at the front top.
- Move the jaws so that the top and bottom teeth sit comfortably in the Munchee.
- Bring the lips together – this is critical to success.
- Simply “munch” up and down gently on the Munchee.
- As your gums strengthen there may be some discomfort, but if your Munchee is too large, it’s simple to trim to size.
Ready, steady, chew
Just like any part of the body, the jaw and facial muscles need the right kind of exercise to stay healthy. That’s why the Munchee works!
With just 10 mins of daily chewing exercise, 5 minutes in the morning 5 minutes in the evening, the Munchee helps children and adults retrain the reflexes and muscles of chewing, lip closure and swallowing.
The great thing about Munchees is that they are made of flexible silicone and can be trimmed if necessary, to get sizing more comfortable. With children it is good to start with a smaller appliance and then move up to a larger appliance once able to easily manage the smaller one.
Instructions for Using Your Myo Munchee
The Myo Munchee is a great way to start balanced, predictable and gentle exercise to tone, strengthen and optimize function of the jaw and facial muscles. Daily chewing for as little as 10 mins is a simple and inexpensive part of preventative dental care and hygiene. To get maximum benefit and usage from your Myo Munchee, simply follow the steps below:
Step 1: Rinse your Myo Munchee off in freshwater
Step 2: Place the Myo Munchee in your mouth with the lip indent at the top
Step 3: Keep your lips together, both now and at all times while using
Step 4: Chew and munch gently up and down and in a circular motion
Step 5: Start by chewing for 1 min, twice a day for 1 week
Step 6: Build daily by 1 min until you are able to chew twice a day for 10 mins
Things to be aware of:
- A lot of saliva will be produced when using this appliance, so be ready. This is a good thing as saliva is nature’s way of protecting the teeth and gums. Once this settles down, try to swallow the saliva while the Myo Munchee is in your mouth
- Make sure to always swallow with your lips closed and keep breathing through your nose
- Chewing is actually quite vigorous exercise so don’t be surprised if your face and jaw muscles feel tired after chewing.
- If you have a temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder do not chew the Myo Munchee, use it passively instead (resting in your mouth)
- Do not use toothpaste on your Myo it disturbs the PH of the saliva produced while chewing
- The Myo Munchee helps maintain teeth and a younger healthier mouth. Chewing the Myo Munchee promotes optimal gum health and alleviates stress on the teeth and jaw
Cleaning Instructions: Rinse with water after each use. For a more thorough clean you can sprinkle your Myo Munchee lightly with bi-carb soda( baking soda) or boil it for 1 minute.
How does it work?
By helping the child:
- Breathe through the nose
- Keep the lips together
- Correct tongue resting position
- Swallow correctly
These are the four goals of orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
What does ideal oral posture and function look like?
- Lips closed breathing through the nose tongue on the roof of the mouth at rest
- Eating, drinking, chewing, swallowing and breathing should all happen with the mouth closed
- Saliva is swallowed and well controlled
- Teeth are aligned and jaws are balanced
- Speech is clear and age appropriate
Visit a Myofunctional Therapist
If you or a family member has trouble with habitual , mouth breathing frequent urination at night, difficulty swallowing, snoring, teeth grinding or any other issues, consult with a therapist, dentist or doctor.
In many ways, your dentist is well-positioned to help since they are experts on oral health and mouth development. Myofunctional therapy is multidisciplinary, often involving a few different kinds of health professionals collaboration in your case.
It may take multiple providers to get you or your loved one the help they need. The earlier you seek treatment the less extensive the solution may be. While I am still a full time dental hygienist, myofunctional therapy is also close to my heart. I have a proven track record and a passion for treating Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders.
Children don’t “grow out of these dysfunctions; they grow into them,” and the best way to treat them is to treat them early.
There are various exercises that are customized for each individual. Other possible treatment options may include breathing exercises, mouth taping, and more.
A Munchee is affordable, adaptable and enjoyable to use, making healthy habits fun!
To schedule a free examination and consultation appointment.
Or go to the website to order your very own Munchee.