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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team


Updated: Feb 13

Episode 49 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 Dr. Mary Bourke

My guest today is Dr. Mary Bourke. She is a member of the Sacro-Occipital Technique Organization and has obtained advanced craniopath certifications. She has also been involved in the education and training of other practitioners in this field.

Mary has been in Chiropractic Practice for over 29 years and during this time, has undertaken further studies in many aspects of Pediatric development. She developed the Vital Babies Program for Mums with babies under 6 months of age to offer education and understanding of the factors that can influence optimal growth and development.

An area of particular interest for Mary has been in Facial growth and development and she has spent much time attending conferences all around the world looking into the different aspects that are affecting growth and development of this vital area.

Mary has undertaken over 300 hours of training in the field of Oral Facial Myofunctional therapy and, in 2016 with the blessing of her father Dr. Kevin Bourke, she took over the leadership at Myo Munchee with the intent of relaunching the product her father originally developed.

Mary’s particular interest lies in the early detection of potential problems for young children and addressing the underlying causes of Oral growth and development issues.

You can find out more about Mary and the Myo Munchee at

The first seven years of life is about milestone movements, including proper functional chewing. ~ Dr. Mary Bourke

Show Notes:


Wolff’s Law was created by the German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff in the 19th century. It is a part of bone theory that explains how bones typically respond to stress. Specifically, it states that our bones become thicker and stronger over time to resist forces placed upon them and thinner and weaker if there are no forces to act against. To put it another way... naturally healthy bones will adapt and change in order to adapt to the stress that it is subjected to.

This why appliances, such as expanders, can be beneficial in helping to widen and grow the jaw through the process of consistent resistance or force.


Non-nutritive sucking behavior or habits describes self-soothing activities for infants and toddlers behaviors such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. For small children, sucking can be a comfort mechanism to help them cope with stressful situations and calm themselves. Unlike the sucking reflex used to breastfeed, the non-nutritive behaviors have no nutritional benefit (thus, non-nutritive).

While it is accepted in moderation for newborns through the toddler stage, the impact of prolonged non-nutritive sucking habits can adversely affect palatal, facial, and speech development. The prolonged habit exerts a strong force on the teeth and oral cavity and is often associated with malocclusions.

Children with severe malocclusions often show signs of or experience:

  • Airway and sleep dysfunction

  • Difficulty with speech

  • TMJ issues

  • Impaired tone and masticatory functions

  • Periodontal disease

  • Misalignment of teeth


The consequences of a child's poor oral health go far beyond tooth decay and gum disease. Oral health also encompasses your child's jaw alignment and oral cavity --- both of which can impact your child's ability to breathe properly.

Mouth breathing (often caused due airway dysfunction) can have long-term impacts on both your child's oral and long-term health including:

  •  Decreasing your child's quality of sleep ---- causing sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing 

  • Causing poorly functioning auto-immune system

  • Decreasing brain function and lower IQ up to 10 points --- can also be misdiagnosed as having ADHD

  • Impacting speech and swelling capabilities

  • Increasing risk for dental complications

  • Causing anxiety, panic attacks, and aggressive behavior

  • Posture problems and muscle fatigue

Additionally, mouth breathing causes your child's mouth to dry out, which in turn, creates a damaging effect on the normal process of the oral cavity. A dry mouth can increase acidity, putting your child at greater risk of gum disease.


Airway dentistry treats common and complex concerns related to a child's bite and palate, which can affect how a child breathes. Below are links and dental resources we believe parents will find useful, including an airway-focused dental provider finder:

Use the provider finder below, powered by Airway Health Solutions, to find an airway-focused dental provider in your area:

Find an airway centric dentist

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