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barbara tritz

Queen of Dental Hygiene

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"Your tongue is a very mighty organ. It controls you. It dictates the shape of your face, the way you talk, your posture, your sleep, even your jaw joints, and total body health. That’s why tongue tie matters. You need a properly functioning tongue for oral health."

- Barbara Tritz, RDH, Myofunctional Therapist

 

the queen of dental hygiene

Barbara Tritz earned her title as the “Queen of Dental Hygiene” through her popular oral health and wellness blog where she shares insights gained from decades of experience as a dental hygienist and myofunctional therapist. Her blog covers issues such as tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, tongue tie, and sleep apnea with a fun, conversational, and upbeat twist.

 

a personal journey to myofunctional therapy

“We are not meant to belching and burping all of the time.”


Barbara’s path into myofunctional therapy began when her daughter was a junior in high school:Barbara-Tritz-myofunctional-therapist

“Right after she got her braces off, she started belching these deep rumbly belches. Even though I had been a dental hygienist for over 30 years at that point, I was not prepared for this. I knew nothing about the proper way to swallow and breathe.”

Barbara took her daughter to various healthcare professionals trying to get to the bottom of the belching problem. “They could not find anything physically wrong with her,” says Barbara, “The gastroenterologist said, ‘I don’t know — she’s stressed’, to which I replied, ‘She’s stressed because she’s belching.’”

Barbara finally brought her daughter to a myofunctional therapist because she had heard one of her mentors in dental hygiene mention a connection between belching and breathing.

“At first I honestly thought, these are the stupidest, silliest exercises ever. But within two weeks of myofunctional therapy, my daughter was 50% better. Within six weeks, her belching problem was 100% gone because she learned how to put her tongue on the roof of her mouth and swallow properly so she wasn’t sucking air into her stomach.” Barbara could not deny the evidence before her eyes.

 
"Right then I realized — I need to know this.”

Through her daughter’s experience, Barbara became more aware of the stigma around burping. She began to wonder how many people are out there who would prefer a functional solution instead of a lifetime of gastrointestinal medications.

“People with belching problems feel so alone, embarrassed and ashamed of their condition. Some people have even become socially reclusive because of it. So when they get myofunctional therapy to address the underlying problem, it is life-changing.”

After many decades as a dental hygienist, Barbara began her training at the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy in Los Angeles. She helps her patients regain healthy function in her private myofunctional practice, Washington Oral Wellness.

She is also a dental hygienist at Green City Dental in Edmunds, WA, a biological dentistry clinic where she collaborates with Dentist Rebecca Taylor and holistic providers like craniosacral therapist Lily Corley. Their focus is minimally invasive dentistry, prevention, and looking for the root cause of dental disease.


the mighty tongue

Why tongue position matters


“Virtually every periodontal disease and tooth decay issue has a myofunctional disorder behind it. You have to deal with the root cause — the myofunctional disorder."

While just about everybody knows about the importance of brushing and flossing, the tongue plays a much bigger role in oral health than most people realize. Improper tongue position leads to a high vault, crowded teeth and inadequate jaw development. These issues in turn affect a slew of other symptoms and disorders including TMH pain, migraines, and gum disease.

“The tongue is nature’s braces for the face. Where the tongue rests determines how the face grows. Muscle is stronger than bone so the pressure of your tongue will reshape your face. The bottom jaw becomes like a size 9 foot in a size 6 shoe. It gets locked in and it can’t grow."

Where should your tongue go when you are not eating, chewing or talking? According to Barbara and many oral health experts like her, the tip of the tongue should be resting on “The Spot.”


That Spot is located behind your front teeth and further behind the bumps called rugae. The entire rest of your tongue should then be PLASTERED to the roof of your mouth, covering what’s called the hard palate and extending to what is called the soft palate. It should never touch your front teeth. Instead it should rest about a half inch behind your teeth.

"The tongue needs to be on the roof of the mouth 24/7 unless you are eating, talking or communicating."

the case of the shrinking jaw

Addressing the alarming red flags in human evolution


Like many oral health professionals, Barbara is concerned that the human jaw is shrinking faster than evolution would dictate because of processed foods, a decrease in chewing, and mouth breathing:

“Archeological evidence shows that prehistoric people didn’t suffer from dental diseases like we do. It wasn’t until humans started farming and eating processed foods and sugar in the 1700s and 1800s that we began to see an uptick in problems like this.”

She was “blown away” when she learned that crooked teeth (malocclusion) started at the beginning of the 20th century when mothers went to work and babies started being bottle-fed instead of breastfed. In this context, the work of Barbara and other myofunctional therapists provide a crucial intervention for healthy human evolution before it is too late.

 

“We’re not designed to have crooked teeth and malformed faces. We need to release our genetic potential from these functional problems so we can grow into whole, healthy individuals. It always comes back to the airway. If you’re not breathing properly, nothing else matters.”

 

Barbara is a practicing orofacial myofunctional therapist and a registered dental hygienist with over 40 years of clinical experience. In 2019, she received the Hu-Friedy/ADHA Master Clinician Award from the American Dental Hygienist Association.

 

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