BY Austin Hill
Why the long face? It can most likely be attributed to the development of bad habits, especially that of chronic mouth-breathing causing the abnormal growth of facial muscles and bones, leading to long face syndrome.
More prevalent today than in any other time in history, facial deformities are often attributed to recent change of diet for most of the population. As people adapted from nasal to mouth breathing, many problems arose, from the altered face growth to issues such as sleep apnea, sinus and respiratory infections, and a lack of energy from the reduced intake of oxygen.
What the uninformed consider a harmless act is actually causing much internal destruction. As the responsibility of taking in air is transferred from the nose, the tongue retracts downwards to allow for greater air intake, and without the support of the tongue on the upper arch, the buccinator muscles cause it to collapse inward, resulting in a long, thin face.
There is plenty of research that points toward mouth breathing as the direct contributor to these defects. In 1981, Egil P. Harvold conducted a study with monkeys by obstructing their nasal passages with nose plugs. The monkeys were found to have developed dental malocclusions while their control group counterparts remained unaltered. In a human trial, Dr. Mike Mew had two patients who were sisters that were habitual mouth breathers and were developing the associated side-effects. One of the sisters followed Mew’s advice and techniques and the other was complacent and ignored them. After seeing them again in a few years, the malformations of the disobedient sister were obvious while her sister developed a healthy countenance.
How can this be useful to you? Well, by the age of 12, 90% of facial growth has occurred, but the lower jaw continues to develop until the age of 18. So, while you can change your breathing habits in your mid teens and alleviate some of the detrimental growth, most of the damage has been done. However, no matter your age, you can still benefit from the reduced chance of infection, snoring, and fatigue.