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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:

  • Minimal, non-invasive interventions in dentistry
  • Prevention and rehabilitation of poor facial and jaw growth development that results in dental misalignment, sleep disordered breathing, and compromised systemic health.
  • Oral myofunctional therapy, incorporating it into the treatment of orofacial myofunctional disorders, and dental sleep medicine for both children and adults. 

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:

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery from University Science of Malaysia (Honours, 2006)
  • Recipient of the USM Chancellor’s Gold Award, USM’s University Gold Award and Conference of Malay Rulers’ Royal Education Excellence Award
  • Postgraduate training and certifications on Orthotropics from London School of Facial Orthotropics
  • Mini Residency on Guiding Craniofacial Growth and Development in Children
  • Mini Residency on Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Craniofacial Epigenetics
  • Oral Myology from Coulson Institute of Orofacial Myology
  • Myobrace from MRC Australia
  • Implant Training Program University of Southern California

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By Nikki Yeo

Nikki Yeo is a safe training movement advocate, co-founder of AsiaFitnessToday.com and Head of Sports Marketing at GoInternationalGroup.com. Her fitness dogma is founded on the belief that physical fitness makes the greatest impact on our quality of life. She believes that her purpose isn’t just about improving fitness, but about changing lives. Nikki is a Certified Specialist by Functional Movement System, Certified Personal Trainer by American Council on Exercise, Health & Fitness Professional of “Exercise is Medicine” awarded by the American College of Sports Medicine, Barefoot Training Specialist by Evidence Based Fitness Academy America and Board Member Of Exercise Is Medicine Malaysia. For more about Nikki, visit www.nikkiyeo.com