Technical Description

Why stop the sucking habit?

The main objective of the Machouyou is to provide a remedy to the sucking habit (whether soothers, teethers or the thumb) when this continues beyond the age of two years and to provide an alternative to the mushy food offered to young children.
From the age of 2 years (on average) children have 20 primary teeth in their mouths (8 incisors, 4 canines and 8 molars). That’s more than enough to eat food that requires chewing. Children should no longer be breast or bottle fed. Their eating habits need to change to involve cutting, tearing, crushing and grinding food before swallowing. These actions prepare food to be ingested and then digested by making it smaller and mixing it with saliva.

The chewing muscles are thus stimulated and the dental arches will develop until the arrival of adult teeth from the age of six.
Feeding children aged two and over with mushy food, such as minced steak, mashed potatoes, purées, yoghurt and sliced bread, does not promote chewing. Even worse is the regular sucking of soothers, teethers, fingers and the thumb, which physiologically prevents the move from sucking to chewing, which should occur at around two years of age.
With regard to the muscles, the tongue sits low in the mouth (below the soother or thumb) and continues to suck by working with the muscles in the lips, in the chin and the cheeks.

From a functional point of view, the continued sucking maintains deglutition (the swallowing of liquids including saliva) in its primary form which is know as suction-deglutition.
What are the risks of thumb sucking?

In its primary form, deglutition makes the tongue muscles work together with the muscles in the lips, chin and cheeks, i.e. the muscles inside the dental arch (the tongue muscles) and those outside the dental arch. Muscle pressures of several hundred grams per square centimetre are therefore exerted on the teeth in an internal-external manner, on the incisors by the tongue and in an external-internal manner by the muscles of the cheeks, chin and lips, particularly the lower lip.

This deglutition can occur every 30 seconds during the day. The tooth-supporting tissues, bone, periodontal ligaments and gums are tissues that can move under pressure and the teeth supported by such tissues can therefore move too.
The persistence of this sucking deglutition after the age of two years will cause tooth movements within the dental arch caused by pressure from the muscles of the tongue, lips and cheeks. The persistence of this sucking deglutition will cause displacement of the bone from the premaxillary outwards and forwards, and from the mandible towards the back, most of the time. The consequence will be that the upper teeth will not be correctly aligned with the lower teeth, giving rise to incisor open bite.

Worse still, the mandible may move backwards and the teeth will arrange themselves in class II form (upper and lower canines and molars facing each other, or worse, canines and mandibular molars behind the canines and maxillary molars or to the side and the teeth arranged to form a crossbite). These dental and bone displacements will have damaging consequences on the joints of the lower jaw, to the temporal bone (the temporo-mandibular joints) since the lower jaw is not correctly aligned. Functional consequences appear if the upper and lower incisors no longer touch, preventing the child from biting through food. If the mandible is moved to the side, the little chewing that the child does will be done on that side. Therefore, not only is mastication not promoted, but it also becomes impossible for some groups of teeth.

Other functional consequences appear, particularly the development of mouth breathing with the tongue lowered as soon as the soother or finger is removed from the mouth. Nose breathing is the physiologically normal breathing method when resting and sleeping. This nose breathing promotes the transverse expansion of the palate and thus the alignment of the upper teeth, because the palate is the floor of the nasal cavity and maxillary sinuses which develop between 2 and 12 years through nose breathing. Another functional consequence appears with a difficulty in phonation due to poor dental and lingual placement.

Thus failure to wean the child completely has serious and often unexpected consequences on the basic neurovegetative functions of the human body, i.e. breathing, swallowing, phonation and chewing.

The MACHOUYOU is the answer to all of these problems.
How to stop the thumb and soother sucking habit?
Machouyou is a corrective device that creates normal optimal conditions for weaning of all children aged from two to six years. It is made of soft food-grade silicone (free from bisphenol A). It is made in one piece and is composed of an extraoral inverted double cone-shaped section and a hollow U-shaped intraoral section. It is thick enough to withstand the biting of a child’s teeth. The outer conical portion is pierced to receive a clip or hook.

The large base outside the mouth is a lip-rest for both the upper and lower lips. The lips are thus fully closed. Because they now sit on the lip rest, the lips can no longer rest against the teeth. The mentalis and quadrate muscles of the chin, which work in synergy with those of the lower lip, are rested too. Because the lips work properly with the Machouyou, nose breathing is promoted.

The intraoral masticatory plane becomes a biteplane as soon as the device is placed in the mouth. All the primary teeth can grow side by side on the masticatory plane. The chewing muscles are stimulated. Additionally they are stimulated in left-right symmetrical manner. The stimulation of the masticatory muscles is necessary for weaning (the move from sucking to chewing when eating). The intermediate part of intraoral masticatory plane is known as a tongue-stop because it prevents the tongue muscles from pushing on the incisors. Because the tongue is retained inside and the lips are being stimulated outside, sucking deglutition in children is no longer possible.

Weaning can be accomplished because suction is blocked by the Machouyou, also known as a “masticatory device for primary teeth.” The posterior internal bilateral parts of the tongue-stop are hollow. The side edges of the tongue can touch the primary molars. Because the tip of the tongue is restricted in relation to the incisors and canines but not in relation to the molars, the transverse expansion of the palate is promoted by pressure from the tongue on the molars and on the palate.

Because the palate is the roof of the mouth and the floor of the nasal cavity and sinuses, the MACHOUYOU (masticatory device for primary teeth) causes the palate to grow, and therefore the mouth too, in a transverse direction. The wider the palate is, the more space there will be for future adult teeth and this promotes weaning.
The bilateral intraoral parts external to the masticatory plane are enlarged compared to the primary teeth preventing the muscles of the lips and cheeks from pressing on the the teeth.
Because the external muscles of the mouth are neutralized they cannot participate in sucking deglutition and this promotes weaning.
How does it work?
Because the lips are made to work better with the lip-rest, the anterior part of the tongue is blocked by the tongue-stop, the external parts of the tongue are freed with the hollowing of the masticatory plane which itself promotes the development of the masticatory muscles, the Machouyou creates the physiological conditions for the weaning of children aged over two years and less than six years.

The “masticatory device for primary teeth” has a doubly symmetrical shape. The intraoral section is always intraoral but can be put into the mouth in any direction as can the extraoral section. This device is intended for all children over two years of age without the need for the assistance of a professional because it is so simple to use. It can be worn during the day and at night when sleeping to suit the child, under parental supervision.