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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2017

ADVERTORIAL: A NEW PERSPECTIVE About the author Dayo Oliver studied midwifery at St Gallen in Switzerland. She has been a midwife at the See-Spital Horgen hospital in Switzerland since 2006. For two years, Oliver also worked at a doctor’s surgery specialising in fertility problems and in vitro fertilisation. At the See-Spital hospital, she works in the delivery room and the women’s clinic, provides post- natal care and training, and performs acupuncture. Since starting her training, she has brought around 300 children into the world. Oliver is very passionate about her career as a midwife. She has been living with her partner for 19 years and has two sons and a daughter. Dummies that have not been de- signed to take the mouth and jaw position into account, as well as thumb-sucking, cause unnatural pressure points in a child’s mouth. This can lead to several pathologies. First, the shapes of standard dummies and thumbs cause the wrong kind of pressure, which leads to misalign- ments. Owing to the shape of the dummy, these children move their tongues to an unnaturally low position. The child be- comes used to this incorrect tongue position and begins to hold it there even when not sucking on a dummy or its thumb. This in turn results in the dental arch not being stretched upwards by the pressure of the tongue, so the teeth and tongue do not have enough space on the palate. Owing to the lack of space on the palate, the child breathes through its mouth. In some children, the size of the ton- sils is to blame. They can be so swollen that they cause an obstruction, meaning that the child cannot take in enough air through the nose. The body then auto- matically switches to mouth breathing to ensure a sufficient supply of all-important oxygen. Problems caused by mouth breathing In normal cases, a baby or toddler breathes through its nose. This is enor- mously important for many functions in our bodies, especially the unhindered growth of the oral cavity. There is a mucus membrane inside the nose that is covered with small hairs. Breathing through the nose cleanses and moistens, warms or cools the air. This natural effect prevents, among other things, dirt parti- cles from the air, germs and other patho- gens from entering our bodies. It works like a filter. When we breathe through our mouths, this filter is bypassed. Mouth breathing also dries out the mucus membrane in the mouth, espe- cially at night. The dryness reduces the saliva’s natural protective effect against dental caries and allows inflammation of the mucus membrane and gingivae, which can be very painful. This makes the child more susceptible to infections. This drying of the mouth can lead to problems swallowing, respiratory infections, ton- sillitis and inflammation of the oral and pharyngeal mucus membranes. Mouth breathing also impairs the environment that important bacteria and digestive en- zymes in the saliva need to thrive. This then has a negative effect on digestion and oral health. 16 issue #1

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