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The relation of oral-mechanism malfunction to dental and speech development

American Journal of Orthodontics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0002-9416(63)90096-4
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract It has been the thesis of this article that the pattern of oral-mechanism function represents the best efforts of the organism to complete the vegetative acts of chewing and swallowing. Because of certain conditions—anatomic, neurologic, or physiologic—the organism may have developed an adaptive muscle-movement pattern which, when continued, can have a negative effect upon dental and speech development. Because the act of speech is an overlaid act, and because it is accomplished no more satisfactorily than one's use of the mechanism for the basic vegetative purposes, the misuse of the oral mechanism for speech is related to all behavior of the mechanism. Suggestions have been made for the development of more nearly normal chewing, swallowing, and speech patterns in persons who have a malfunction of the oral mechanism. These have been in the nature of general recommendations for control of the mouth during vegetative behavior. In addition, specific suggestions have been made whereby the principle of muscle resistance may be used to develop strength in the various component parts of the mechanism. The importance of a speech-articulation assessment must be impressed upon the professional person responsible for retraining. It is not enough to position the tongue for swallowing. One must be aware of what the tongue does during articulation. The persistence of a speech-articulation problem may tend to delay successful orthodontic care. Finally, the place of various “positioning” procedures has been included.

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