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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team


Updated: Feb 13

Episode 46 of the Airway First podcast is now out! You can catch this and all other episodes on Apple, SoundCloud, Podbean, RSS, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. And don't forget to check us out on YouTube!

Airway First Podcast with Renata Nehme myofunctional

My guest today is Renata Nehma. Renata is a Registered Dental Hygienist and Orofacial myofunctional Therapist in Savannah, Georgia.

She is the owner of Myo Moves, a practice focusing on treating myofunctional disorders in children and adults. She also founded the Airway Circle with the intention of gathering all health professionals who share the same passion for giving.

You can find out more about Renta at

If you can't breathe well at night, you're not going to sleep well. ~ Renata Nehme



When it comes to helping your child's health, getting a full and restful night's sleep is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle. One of the best ways to ensure that your child is breathing well at night is simply to check on them. To obtain an accurate assessment, we recommend you do this a couple of times a night on multiple nights.

After your child has fallen asleep for the evening, wait about 90 minutes ---- allowing them time to enter a full sleep cycle. Quietly go into the room and spend a few moments observing the following:

  • Can you hear them audibly breathing or snoring?

  • Are they moving or thrashing about?

  • Where is their head position ---- is it tilted back or elevated to help them open their airway?

  • Are they drooling?

  • Is their mouth open or closed?

Mouth breathing, sleep-disorder breathing, and snoring can disrupt brain development causing attention, behavior, and learning issues for children. An often overlooked group of symptoms associated with childhood airway disorders include bed-wetting, nightmares, sleepwalking, and colic.

Keep in mind that the goal is for your child to get quality sleep and not just to spend time in bed. Quality, restorative sleep will allow your child to grow and develop in a healthy manner.


The goal of myofunctional therapy is to improve the bite, breathing, and facial posture of children with orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) through a combination of physical therapy exercises. To achieve optimal tongue position and posture during oral rest, the training targets the soft tissues of the face, neck, and mouth.

Correct swallowing depends on a proper relationship between the muscles of the face, mouth, and throat. The act of swallowing is one function that depends on the body’s vital balance. To swallow properly, muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks, and throat must work together in harmony. When a child swallows normally, the tip of the tongue presses firmly against the roof of the mouth or hard palate, located slightly behind the front teeth. The tongue acts in concert with all the other muscles involved in swallowing. The hard palate, meanwhile, absorbs the force created by the tongue.

Children suffering from an orofacial myofunctional disorder may experience or show signs and symptoms of:

  • an abnormal bite - leading to difficulties biting and chewing

  • a tongue thrust

  • trouble swallowing

  • chronic mouth breathing or snoring

  • tongue, lip, or cheek tie

  • speech problems

  • chronic thumb-sucking or extended pacifier use

  • orofacial muscular and structural differences

  • misaligned teeth, overbite, or underbite

  • facial pain

  • trouble breastfeeding

Myofunctional therapy uses neuromuscular re-education exercises to help normalize face and mouth structures. These exercises teach your child's muscles, nerves, and brain how to restore optimal movement.


If you're wondering if your child might benefit from myofunctional therapy, here are a few steps you can take to get the process going:

  1. Monitor your child for mouth breathing and/or an open-mouth resting posture. How often does it occur during the day? Do they sleep with their mouth open and/or snore frequently?

  2. Consider talking to a doctor or dentist who specializes in breathing and sleep. It may even be time to have a sleep study done for you or your child. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your child and decide the best course of action.

  3. Have an evaluation with a myofunctional therapist. A myofunctional therapist will often know other specialists and will be able to point you in the right direction at the very least.

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