Dysfunctional breathing habits and their serious effects

Dental Science is expanding. It is becoming interdisciplinary. It includes much more than teeth. Dental, orthodontic, and closely related behavioral problems come about through the unconscious learning of bad habits that can seriously affect health and performance. The science of habit identification and habit modification in the context of dental science is known as behavioral dentistry, a new service that we are now providing.

Dysfunctional breathing habits have become an important focus among interdisciplinary-oriented dentists and orthodontists, habits that may profoundly affect the lives of their patients. Dysfunctional breathing habits may compromise respiration and trigger, exacerbate, perpetuate, or cause a wide range of physical emotional, cognitive, personality, and behavioral changes. These effects are experienced as symptoms and/or deficits that are usually mistakenly attributed to other causes, or are simply passed off as “unexplained symptoms” to be treated with psychiatric drugs. As a consequence, breathing habits and their effects may be perpetuated for a life time if they are not identified, unlearned, and replaced with new ones.

Breathing is not just about getting oxygen to the cells and transporting carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Breathing actually regulates the pH (acidity, alkalinity) of blood plasma and other body fluids. It regulates electrolyte balance, hemoglobin chemistry, blood flow, and kidney function. When pH is disturbed it has a major impact on physiology everywhere, including , for example, a major decrease in blood flow to the brain (a reduction of 50%, or more) as a result of increased plasma alkalinity. It can quickly and profoundly alter emotion, cognition, and behavior without your even realizing it.

It is estimated that more than half of the emergency ambulance runs in major US cities are the result of the threatening symptoms brought on by dysfunctional breathing. These symptoms in the medical community are usually referred to as “unexplained symptoms.” Surveys have indicated that 10 to 25 percent of the US population are likely suffering the serious effects of dysfunctional breathing that compromises respiratory function. These amazing statistics are almost invariably the result of “overbreathing,” a learned habit which may seriously disturb the acid-base balance of body fluids.

Dysfunctional breathing habits are rarely identified, let along meaningfully addressed. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the causes, typically only the symptoms are treated, often with the use of psychiatric drugs. Dysfunctional habits need to be unlearned and replaced with habits that are properly aligned with respiratory reflex-regulated breathing. This means identifying the habit and its effects, its triggers, its sustaining factors (motivation and reinforcement), and its history. Solutions focus on learning, not treatment.

We are now offering behavioral dentistry services, including both behavioral assessment and breathing learning programs as a part of our new interdisciplinary practice.

Breathing Habit Assessment Sessions

We offer breathing habit assessment services for all of our patients. Assessment sessions are 75 minutes and are provided by a breathing practitioner with an MS degree in Applied Breathing Sciences and with more than a decade of full time experience. The cost is $250.00.

Then, if you do suffer with a dysfunctional habit, you can sign-up for a learning program that consists of six tutorial learning sessions and an instrumentation (CapnoTrainer) rental for monitoring your own breathing physiology at home while overcoming dysfunctional habits and learning new ones. These learning sessions are provided “live” over the Internet. You may be at home, at work, at the gym, or elsewhere while the practitioner operates your instrumentation rental remotely from her office in Santa Fe.

Make an appointment by calling Dr. Luffey’s office at 505.294.4700. Then, download the attached two fill-in PDF forms and email them to appts@abqfamilydental.com.

Breathing Questionnaire

Breathing Checklist