Colleen O’Callaghan therapist on Natural Therapy Pages
Member since 2016

Colleen O’Callaghan

Mouth Matters - Tasmanian Thumbsucking Clinic

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At Mouth Matters we’re all about helping little mouths to develop to their fullest potential. Incorporating the Tasmanian Thumb Sucking Clinic, Mouth Matters offers positive solutions for thumb suckers, mouth breathers, nail biters, and those with orofacial myofunctional disorders.

Mouth Matters, Tasmanian Thumbsucking Clinic

Focus areas

Adults Growth Tiredness Facial Health outcomes Lifestyle

Colleen O’Callaghan

Colleen O’Callaghan is an Orofacial Myologist and Director of Mouth Matters and the Tasmanian Thumb Sucking Clinic.

Colleen has completed studies in Orofacial Myology, Buteyko Breathing Technique, Myofunctional Therapy and Dental Therapy, and is also a qualified and currently practising Dental Hygienist and Breathing Coach.

Having an early positive influence on children’s dental growth and development is an area to which Colleen is highly committed.

Working with children as a Dental Therapist early in her career laid the foundation for her ongoing commitment to what she sees as a vital and often under-treated area.

Colleen’s passion for preventive health has allowed for a natural progression to Breathing Re-training Programs within her Orofacial Myology practice.

Since training in 2012 with the Buteyko Breathing Clinic Worldwide, Colleen has incorporated breathing re-training techniques into her Orofacial Myology Clinic. Programs are offered for mouth breathing correction as well as for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders and habit cessation for both children and adults.

Colleen is passionate about preventive health, and is committed to helping her patients achieve the best outcomes and long-term benefits for their dental and related general health.

Little mouths deserve every opportunity to develop well.

In conjunction with Mouth Matters Orofacial Myology treatments, the Tasmanian Thumb Sucking Clinic offers positive solutions for those with non-nutritive sucking and biting habits.

Unfortunately, if these habits are not eliminated, they can often have a negative influence on jaw growth & development, cause crooked teeth, impact health (germs & worms!), result in airway issues and create self esteem issues for the child.

Habits treated include thumb & finger sucking, dummy sucking, nail biting, clothes/toy chewing, pen chewing, and other non-nutritive sucking habits.

The only one of its kind in the State, The Tasmanian Thumb Sucking Clinic offers programs which are presented in fun, positive & timely ways, which encourage, support and empower the child to successfully eliminate their habit.

At Mouth Matters and The Tasmanian Thumb Sucking Clinic, we work closely with other health professionals to ensure your needs are best met. We work closely with ENTs, dentists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists and other relevant health care providers to ensure the best treatment options for you.

Orofacial Myology is the study and treatment of disorders that involve a variety of postural and functional abnormalities of the muscles of the tongue, lips, jaw, and face that can occur in both children and adults.

Orofacial Myology Programs

These disorders are described as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD).

In most cases, OMD are the result of a combination of factors, and can result from:

  • abnormal thumb, finger, lip, and tongue sucking habits

  • habits such as nail biting, cheek and lip biting, clothes chewing,

  • and grinding of teeth during sleep

  • a restricted airway, which can be the result of enlarged tonsils or adenoids,

  • a narrow upper jaw, a large tongue or allergies

  • structural or physiological issues such as “tongue tie”

  • neurological or developmental abnormalities

  • hereditary disposition to any of the above factors

The controlled and continuous forces which OMD produce on the facial skeleton, muscles, teeth and jaws, is similar to that of orthodontics (bands or braces).

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is an all too common habit that can produce far-reaching health problems. Our mouth is designed for eating & speaking, not breathing!

How does mouth breathing affect jaw development?

Apart from the obvious drying of the mouth, which comes with increased risk of tooth decay & gum disease, the actual shape of our jaws will also be influenced in our formative years by this habit.

Children whose mouth breathing is not addressed may develop long, narrow faces, narrow mouths, undesirable facial features, dental crowding and airway issues.

Mouth breathing promotes over- breathing. Over-breathing (hyperventilation) is associated with many poor health outcomes, including tiredness & fatigue, poor concentration, dizziness, asthma, headaches, racing heart, bed-wetting, disturbed sleep and sleep apneoas, to name just a few.


Simply put, many people breathe too much, often 2-3 times the volume that their bodies require. This alters the natural levels of gases in the blood needed for healthy functioning, and can lead to numerous health problems, including asthma.

Habitual over-breathing (hyperventilation) is largely due to the influences of our modern lifestyles such as highly processed foods, reduced levels of exercise, excessive talking, polluted air and smoking.

This can result in many common complaints such as poor sleep, poor concentration, chronic tiredness and weight gain.

Thumb Sucking

Dental professionals will observe abnormal changes in the shape of the jaw & position of teeth from as early as 2-3years of age, due to constant pressures from thumb or finger sucking on the developing jaws.

Approximately 80% of children who continue the habit beyond their early years often develop an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder.

When a finger or thumb is frequently inside the mouth, it takes up the space where the teeth, tongue, lips, and jaw are normally positioned.
 This prevents them from functioning correctly and working in harmony.

Mouth Matters Orofacial Myology and Thumb Sucking Therapy baby sucking thumb

Tongue Tie

At Mouth Matters, we take tongues seriously! Our tongue plays a vital role in speech, eating, swallowing, digestion as well as influencing growth & development of the jaws.

Tongue tie, otherwise known as Ankyloglossia, affects approximately 4% of the population.

Tongue tie can be defined by an unusually short, inelastic or thickened attachment (via the lingual frenulum) of the tongue to the floor of mouth, which results in a limited range of functional tongue movements.

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