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AFT Interviews: Dentist Dr. YokeLi Ling on crooked teeth, sleep disorders and systemic health

Oral myofunctional therapy and dental sleep medicine for both children and adults.

Team AFT met with Dr. YokeLi Ling, a dentist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 20 March 2021. What ensued is a chat between The Kurang Manis (Sugar, Less) Podcast co-hosts Jasmine Low & Nikki Yeo with the good doctor about how she’s been able to assist her patients breathe better and live better. Her passion and dedication as a Sleep and Airway Centric Dentist shows in her work in providing a holistic patient management approach. 

In this interview, Team AFT speaks to Dr. Ling about:

In this interview, Dr. Ling speaks at length about her field of specialty. She shares, “I would like to introduce a broader concept of the dentist as an oral physician, a gatekeeper to the wellness of systemic health through the mouth.”

AFT: You practice minimal, non-invasive dentistry to achieve sustainable outcomes for your patients. We’re curious what that means, what is non-invasive and why this kind of specialty? 

Dr. Yoke Li elaborates on Malocclusion, Sleep & Airway and compromised health.

AFT: What causes a child or adult to have crooked teeth? 

Some people have an upper or lower jaw that is too far in or out? What has resulted in that? Is it in our genes that some of us are born with a smaller jaw hence the overcrowding of teeth?

Having a small jaw with crooked teeth are signs that a person’s sleep may be compromised.

“Once sleep is compromised, health is also compromised” – Dr. Ling.

When we sleep the body is restored and our immune system is generated to protect the body. When sleep is interrupted, the lack of oxygen during obstructive sleep apnea would lead to a diminished quality of life, mood swings, irritability, hypertension, even metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

AFT: Why is our jaw too small to accommodate all our teeth? Surely it should be perfectly balanced, unless it’s changed over time?

The standard practice now is for most people to remove their wisdom teeth. Dr. Ling shares her thoughts thoughts on this. 

AFT: Do our food choices contribute to misaligned teeth, jaw and the structure of our face?

We don’t seem to be chewing enough in this era with foods. Archeologists have shown that the hunters and gatherers had a full set of teeth, continuous stimulation of the jaw bone.

AFT: How about people who grind their teeth at night? Can that be cured?

Ever heard about singing as a cure? Dr. Ling elaborates on some situations where spouses have reported positive improvement after their partners undergo treatment in merely exercising upper body, tongue and facial exercises as well as a diet change.

Put your tongue on the top of your mouth palette and breathe. Try it.

Don’t under estimate the power of the tongue and the power of breathing through your nose, chew your food, eat foods that require you to chew and that’s when your body starts to becoming more effective overall.

Q: At Asia Fitness Today, we advocate movement as therapy. What is the one thing that you have been able to use your Fitness for Good?

Married to her childhood sweetheart and blessed with 3 children, Dr. Ling loves hiking, traveling and playing tennis. She shares that fitness activities is how she gets herself out and up and encourages her family and friends to join her. Through sport, it’s not just about being fit physically, but also about being mentally and emotionally fit because good hormones are released.

Dr. Ling’s credentials include:

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