MeDIC II at Carlton Crest Hotel, Sydney - 13 & 14 March 2002

The MYO Appliance

Kevin Bourke

There are three major areas where I feel my MYO appliances can make a significant contribution to the health status of many people:-

1) Firstly by promoting health through function in infants 20 months to 5 years.
2) By encouraging nocturnal use in pre-orthodontic patients to correct adverse oral habits before treatment.
3) In the elderly by using a MYO to produce better salivary flow levels and thus eliminate halitosis-causing 'Candida albicans' micro-organisms. Also, many cases of snoring can be rectified by bringing the lower jaw downward and forward with a nocturnal MYO.

Some 30 years ago, dentists in Japan under the chairmanship of Professor Toyoda Heida studied the effect of myofunctional therapy on 4-year-old Japanese children. They used an appliance similar to the 'MYO Munchee' which I had invented for the purpose of promoting healthier gum tissue. At that time we called the appliance 'The Chewing Brush'.

The Japanese researchers found that 4 year old children, after chewing the device for 20 minutes daily for 6 months, had doubled the competence of the Orbicularis Oris. They placed a round piece of semi soft plastic about 2.5cm in diameter in the child's mouth.
A length of cord was attached both to the plastic and a measuring device at the other end, which exerted a pulling tension.
The child's lips resisted the pressure until the plastic popped out.
The 100% improvement in lip competence is of the utmost importance to the rapidly growing face of the child.
The importance of this discovery was not immediately apparent; at the time I was more impressed with the success in correcting class 3 maloclusion.

Less than 1 month ago, I noticed a report which declared that babies who are breastfed for 3 months are far more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms than babies who are breastfed for 9 months.


Because the breast demands far more activity in the orbicularis oris from the baby, than sucking from a bottle.
As a result, lip competence is improved and nose breathing follows.

The nose is the guardian of the air entrance to the respiratory system. The nasal airway warms the air and its mucous membrane is more effective than the mouth as a filter. After 12 months and a good start to life, other factors emerge to complicate the picture; head colds, soft food, overfilling the mouth which leads to poor swallowing habits, socialising and catching colds from other children.

Without activity the lips can lose their authority and mouth breathing ensues. In such cases there is a danger that environmental factors may overwhelm the genetic growth potential, as research at both the University of North Carolina and University of Helsinki has shown.

The face that we have as adults is the result of genetic and environmental factors.

Some studies indicate that by the age of 14, Australian children have had between 40 and 47 head colds. These colds train our children to mouth breathe in the absence of competent oral musculature.
Recent research has shown that in soft diets there is a failure to masticate sufficiently, resulting in diminishment in the size of salivary glands on the non-working side. This is very important information we should be aware of.

How many health professionals understand the importance of good salivary flow rates?

In conditions where gums are soft and bleeding, as many as 1.5 million leucocytes per minute may emerge from the gingnal crevice. These leucocytes are the oral cavity's first line of defence. They protect the mouth and pharynx by embedding themselves in a tiny globule of mucous saliva and then scavenging the mucous membrane for bacteria. If the mucous glands are not producing mucous for the leucocyte, the body has lost its first line of defence.
Leucocytes cannot survive without mucous. It is necessary to have good, functioning mucous salivary glands kept fit by vigorous mastication.
Professor Jim Klinkhamer from the Medical Research Centre in Huston, Texas, demonstrated this fact over 40 years ago.

Accordingly, mouth breathers with poor quality salivary glands are sitting ducks for tonsillar problems.

At stake is a high health status and good facial aesthetics.

So, what should we do?

At the age of 20 months we introduce the infant to the 'MYO Munchee'.
Between 20 months and five years of age there is a wonderful window of opportunity. We use a system of treatment called SMM (Storybook MYO Munching).
The window is the overwhelming desire and the innate need for the infant to acquire knowledge.

Just observe the 15 to 20 month infant. They will remove every book from the shelves, press every button on the video, TV and computer, fall down steps in an endeavour to climb, turn on a whinge to note the reaction, etc. etc. But they will also chew a 'MYO Munchee' with their lips together if Mum, Dad or Nanna will read a storybook to them.

Victory is certain once they know that storybooks and 'MYO Munchees' go together - no munching means no story - you have the upper hand and victory will be yours. With one system you are developing the brain and producing a great face.
With lips together and swalling copious amounts of saliva (this trains the tongue), authority is given to the oral musculature as demonstrated by Doctors Masihiro, Mine and Yoshihara over 30 years ago.

The results of weak oral musculature and consequently mouth breathing are there for all to see.

The face once beautiful now falls off the perch.

What results is a lowered tongue position, vertical rather than horizontal growth in the mandible, narrowed maxillary arch, alteration to the curvature in the cervical spine, frequent tonsillar pathology, more frequent colds and poor facial aesthetics.

The question arises - can you encourage a child of 20 months to munch a 'MYO'? The answer is yes.

I have seen it happen in 5 of my 18 grandchildren over the last 3 years with excellent results (the other 13 were over five years or too young).
And of course, what good stories do for the young brain is beyond measure.
Children over 7 years generally will not accept the discipline of daily munching, however trade-offs are possible - no TV unless the MYO is placed in the mouth for half an hour while watching TV. This continues to promote nose breathing. No effort from the child is necessary. Sleep in it if some arch expansion is desired.
The nocturnal MYO is also good for bruxers and T.M.J. problems.

The elderly have two common problems where the MYO can be of much assistance. In cases of snoring and mild sleep apnoea - the large MYO U Trim promotes the lower jaw downwards and forward, raises the hyroid bone towards the body of the mandible and opens the airway.
I have slept in a MYO U Trim for 5 years and my wife would swear to its effectiveness.
I have noticed that when the genio glossus muscle is slightly encroached upon, the tongue moves foward and the airway opens. This is the muscle which is nullified after an excessive intake of alcohol - thus the loud snoring when the tongue drops back.

In all, the MYO has a variety of important uses in promoting better health.

Dr. Kevin J. Bourke

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