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Myofunctional Therapy

by M Amir(more info)

listed in dentistry, originally published in issue 287 - June 2023

Originally Published at:


Dr Daniel Garliner

I met Dr Garliner some 30 years ago when I attended his practice in Coral Gables, Florida for a week to lean about his concepts of correct swallowing patterns which he named "Myofunctional therapy". Dr Garliner was a pioneer in this aspect of the improvement of occlusion by prescribing corrective swallowing exercises to the patients.

Seeing the results he produced, I never looked back and have used his teachings throughout my career as a non-extraction orthodontist. Dr Garliner passed away some 20 years ago but, in my mind, he lives on and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with him.

While watching Dr Garliner teaching patients, I realized that I already had a good swallowing pattern with well-developed arches but little explanation why it was so.

Dr Weston Price

I realized that what Dr Garliner taught was already done by most people in the under-developed areas of the world who ate their indigenous foods. Dr Weston Price did a great deal of research in such people comparing them to our western societies and concluded that the processed foods had given rise to underdeveloped jaws and the alveolar bone giving rise to the crowding of teeth.

Dr Weston Price asserted that this change happens in just one generation when people move to urbanised areas of the world with easy excess to processed foods.

So, what really are the reasons for a good dentition and how can one correct any aberrations?

Dr John Mew

The renowned Dr John Mew after extensive studies, writes in his very well researched book about the "Tropic Premise" asserting that:

"The ideal development of the jaws and teeth is dependent on correct oral posture with the tongue resting on the palate, the lips sealed and the teeth in light contact for between four and eight hours a day ."

A chance meeting:

A couple of years ago a Bangladeshi patient walked into my office and I was amazed to see his perfect dentition with the dental arches perfectly developed and in the correct coronal, sagittal and transverse planes. I asked him how he managed to have such amazing teeth.

His reply was:

"All our lives we chewed sugar cane as that was the only luxury cheaply available in Bangladesh."

If you know about sugar cane it is hard to eat. One has to use the anterior teeth to peel off the skin which requires considerable effort to get to the sweet juicy part which has to be torn off piece by piece and chewed extensively to get the juice out and then spitting out the fibres before taking another bite. This obviously makes the anterior and posterior teeth extremely tough. The sugar content does not harm the teeth as commonly presumed. Apparently, the sugar plantation workers in the slave communities and their descendants in the Caribbean communities also have extremely good dentition. Remember the smile and physique of Usain Bolt!

The conversation with the Bangladeshi patient reminded me that we also ate a lot of sugar cane growing up in Kenya where it was cheap and plentiful. Additionally, I also realized that our diet amongst the Asian community from India, was also the consumption of chapattis with every meal which also needed plenty of chewing.

The consequence of this forceful use of the teeth likely developed not only the teeth and jaws to the full potential but also lifted the maxilla up to give a larger transverse space for good nasal breathing. Consequently, my friends and classmates also had excellent dentition as did all the members of my large family. We had never heard of orthodontics nor do I remember any of us having crooked teeth during that era, the 40s to the early 60s amongst the Asian community.

Towards the end of the 60s, most of us had to migrate from East Africa to Europe for education, economic or political reasons.

We were in our 20s, got married locally most marrying their Asian compatriots - dependents of Indians. I had graduated as a dentist and was undertaking orthodontics in my practice under the auspices of a professor of orthodontics. Many of my friends approached me with their children who, unlike their parents, had very crooked teeth confirming Dr Weston Prices' observations that the change occurs in JUST ONE GENERATION.

My orthodontist always recommended the extraction of four premolar teeth and dental appliances - with often dastardly outcomes I hasten to add.

Speaking to the Bangladeshi patient woke me up to the reality that it was really the diet which needed much chewing which produced the perfect arches. After emigration, our children had succumbed to Corn flakes for breakfast, Sheppard’s pies or fish and chips for lunch and some other soft foods for dinner. For dessert there was apple pies, custard and bananas and of course ice cream. These foods can literally be swallowed without any real chewing effort thus collapsing the jaws.

Taking chapattis and curry to school was the most embarrassing thing our children could undertake. Chewing sugar cane lunchtime is unimaginable! Unknowingly, we allowed this to happen as we did not want our children to be unable to blend into society. We were, however, unaware of the impending disasters to their dentition and, as I now know, lifelong ill health.

What is the proper way to develop the teeth and arches correctly?

  • Firstly, the resting position should be with the mouth closed, anterior third of the tongue lightly sucking on the palate just above the anterior teeth and the teeth lightly together.
  • While eating the lips must be closed.
  • The breathing must be through the nose.
  • We swallow some 4000 times a day. This should be done with the posterior teeth firmly together.
  • The anterior third of the tongue should be pushing up and forward just above and behind the anterior teeth.
  • The posterior part of the tongue should descend causing a negative pressure in the pharynx. This enables the nasopharyngeal tubes to drain and not become stagnant and infected.
  • If your lower jaw is a bit further back you must move your lower teeth about a papers thickness forward each time you swallow without the teeth losing contact during the swallow.
  • The tongue must not get through the dentition either anteriorly or posteriorly as it causes an open bite.

If you gently push your tongue out and observe in a mirror and if you find serrations on the sides of the tongue it means that the tongue is getting between the upper and lower teeth and prevents them growing and this gives patients an overclosed bite and a collapse of the upper jaw with the arches narrowing. If this is what you have you must practise using the sides of your tongue to push the upper posterior teeth outwards to strengthen the lateral push of the tongue which helps make the upper jaw slightly wider. The results are excellent in children under 10 and may obviate orthodontic interventions.

If your teeth are crooked, you must have non-extraction orthodontic interventions always keeping the above advice in mind lifelong.

© M. Amir 2022. All rights reserved

 PS: Taking a stand against the existing paradigm of dental and medical care has turned out to be very costly. My website has highlighted practices of those who knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate illness. This is obviously not acceptable to the power structure in control of our health. To continue to produce evidentiary articles on my website and this forum - which have enlightened thousands of dentists and patients all around the world, to keep my staff employed and my offices viable, we request a little help.

You may contribute through a window that comes up at Mr Amir. (Please note I am in the process of revising that website.)

Please remember there are at least 48 illnesses where millions of patients can be helped through dental interventions.

The improvement or benefits identified in the testimonials and articles on this site are based on individual experiences which are dependent upon the patient’s unique health condition, jaw condition, occlusal position, medical history, and other individualised factors, and should not be considered representative of all treatment outcomes.

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About M Amir

M Amir BDS MSc (U. London) Dental Surgeon was a dental surgeon practising holistic dentistry in London. He specialized in the treatment of patients with medical problems emanating from the dysfunction of the jaw joint. He took particular interest in the field of body symmetry and its relationship to health He may be contacted on Tel: 0208 780 3433 (secretary);

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