Whether or not your child has had them, you've definitely heard of ear tubes.
Ear tubes are incredibly common for young children who have persistent fluid buildup behind the eardrum. This buildup is often blamed for constant ear infections, along with loss of hearing and speech development.
While you might be surprised to know that ear and oral cavity are closely connected, this is actually due to the Eustachian tube which is connected to the nose, soft palate, and nasopharynx.
Pain deep inside the ear that may radiate down the jaw is often caused by a middle ear infection. This is common in young children, because the angle of the Eustachian tube affects the way that the middle ear drains. If a child has a narrow palate and has a hard time swallowing, the soft palate can not help drain the Eustachian tube as well as it should.
I wish more ENTs and Paediatric doctors would look at a child's tongue and palate. The palate is at the base of the nasal cavity, and studies have shown that there is a connection between narrow palates and children who end up having tubes inserted into their ears.
It's not the parents fault if they don't realize that there may be a separate underlying issue that's causing their child's frequent ear infections. This is why I want more collaboration between professionals.
The bottom line is that if your child is continuously battling middle ear infections, you may want to visit a dentist in additional to your ENT that understands airway and the whole body connection.
As medical professionals, we need to collaborate and help our patients TOGETHER. No one doctor can completely solve every medical issue themselves, and that's okay!
We need to work together to ensure that our patients are getting the best care possible, and that we are approaching a diagnosis from every angle.