Recognizing Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders: A Guide to Symptoms and Signs

Namaste, dear friend. It’s wonderful that you’re taking this opportunity to learn about Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD). It’s all about becoming more aware of our bodies, just like in yoga and mindful breathing exercises. Now, let’s explore some signs that may indicate whether you or your child might benefit from myofunctional therapy.

Symptoms of OMD

  • Frequent congestion or mouth breathing
  • Keeping the mouth open when at rest
  • Allergies
  • Less muscle strength in the mouth and face
  • Teeth that are crowded together
  • A high, narrow roof of the mouth
  • Tongue-tie (a short, tight piece of skin connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth)
  • Drooling
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Thumb or object sucking (for children)
  • Nail biting
  • Bedwetting (for children)
  • Open mouth chewing or messy eating

Signs of OMD


  • Regular nasal congestion that encourages mouth breathing
  • Loud or noticeable breathing
  • Overbreathing or hyperventilation
  • Yawning a lot
  • Sniffling often
  • Sighing frequently
  • Moving the upper chest and shoulders noticeably when breathing


  • Keeping the mouth open often
  • Dry, chapped, or cracked lips
  • Low muscle tone
  • Large, rolled upper lip
  • Frequent lip licking, biting, or sucking
  • Visible saliva at corners of the mouth
  • Struggling to control drooling


  • Visible at rest or during speech
  • Thrusting the tongue forward
  • Appears large or gets in the way
  • Scalloped edges or tongue-tie

Lower Jaw (Mandible)

  • Jaw shifting to the left, right, or forward
  • Headaches or facial pain
  • Uneven appearance of the jaws
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Sudden change in the way the teeth fit together
  • Chewing gum excessively
  • Leaning on hands often to support posture

Daytime Breathing

  • Audible breathing
  • Mouth breathing during speech, eating, daily activities, or when focusing
  • Large tonsils and adenoids that block the airway


  • Snoring
  • Noisy breathing
  • Grinding or clenching teeth
  • Pausing in breathing during sleep
  • Sweating at night
  • Having nightmares often
  • Bedwetting (for children)
  • Restless sleeping with a lot of movements
  • Keeping the mouth open when sleeping
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day, moodiness, or behavioral issues
  • Hyperactivity or problems with thinking and learning


  • Sucking thumb, fingers, or objects
  • Biting nails or cuticles
  • Putting hands and objects in the mouth
  • Licking, sucking, or biting lips
  • Chewing on things other than food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Picking the nose
  • Picking or biting skin, pulling hair
  • Picking eyebrows or eyelashes
  • Clearing the throat often
  • Coughing when not sick
  • Popping the jaw
  • Adjusting the neck
  • Cracking knuckles
  • Sucking on a blanket (children)
  • Chewing gum a lot

If any of these signs or symptoms resonate with you or your child, myofunctional therapy might be a beneficial path to explore. Like yoga, it’s a journey of self-awareness and healing. If you are interested in learning more about our practice and how we can be of service, schedule a no-pressure consultation today!

(Source: Richard Baxter, DMD, MS, “Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Feeding, Speech”)