352 children radiologically identified with asymmetry in the occipito-cervical region were assessed on a number of myofunctional measures. In all children an orthopedic examination was conducted including a functional test of the upper cervical spine and the iliac joint, the postural test by Matthiass, as well as gait analysis. During a second examination the orofacial myofunctional status was recorded. In general, about 70% of the children revealed orofacial myofunctional disorders. Correlational analysis was conducted in order to determine whether specific myofunctional variables were associated with postural and orthopedic alterations. A weak body posture correlated statistically significantly with all assessed myofunctional variables. On the other hand, all orthopedic items correlated significantly with a reclined head position. A blockade of the iliac spine correlated significantly with persistent habits, articulation disorders and tongue dysfunction, whereas functional asymmetry of the upper cervical spine correlated significantly with incompetent lips. A finding of at least five statistically significant correlations within each orofacial variable underlined the complex symptomatology of myofunctional disorders, so that consideration needs to be given to adequate treatment approaches. The data generated by the present study stress the importance of early interdisciplinary screening in children to ensure a physiological development of the orofacial region and the still growing vertebral column. To help understand the complexity of symptoms influencing orofacial development, an explanatory model of the “interactive functional box system” is given.


Orofacial myofunctional disorders, reclined head position, weak body posture, interactive functional box system