Effect of mouth breathing in children
Mouth breathing in children is far more serious than most people assume. If your child consistently breathes through mouth, take the child to a doctor or dentist for evaluation. Mouth breathing can have serious, lifelong effects and most children will require some form of treatment. Mouth breathing can cause poor oxygen concentration in the blood stream, which can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnea and other medical conditions
What are the symptoms of mouth breathing?
The tongue plays a large role in influencing cranial and maxillary growth. When a child’s newborn the forward thrusting of the tongue to express milk from the mother’s breast is the force that drives the horizontal or forward growth of upper jaw. The tongue acts like a natural tooth retainer when the mouth is closed gently pushing the top teeth into their correct position. When the mouth is open, t6hetongue rests on the floor of the mouth instead of roof and when this is done continuously the upper jaw narrows and forcing the teeth to grow in a forward position or to overlap each other.
- Breathe primarily with mouth open and breathing will often sound shallow and raspy.
- Mouth breathers tend to grow at a slower rate than other children
- Dry lips
- Swollen tonsils
- Children who mouth breathe typically do not sleep well, causing them to be tired during the day and possibly unable to concentrate on studies
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Narrow palate, crowed teeth
- Increasingly long and narrow faces termed as long face syndrome or adenoid faces
- Gum tissue shows when smiling
- Snoring sleep apnea
- High incidence of airway infections
- Mouth breathing dries out saliva which plays important role in cavity prevention so the incidence of dental caries increases.
- Increased rate of plaque accumulation
The following other conditions are also associated with mouth breathing
- Cheilitis glandularis
- Down syndrome
- Tongue thrusting
- Cerebral palsy
- Anterior openbite
What causes mouth breathing?
- Allergies are the primary cause of mouth breathing. Children with chronic or severe congestion may find it difficult to breathe through the nose, and may get in the habit of breathing through the mouth
- Enlarged adenoids or tonsils:-in younger children enlarged adenoids are one of the primary cause for persistent childhood snoring. Adenoids are tonsil like tissue found in the back of the nasal passage. Adenoids can grow in size as a consequence of recurrent upper respiratory infections and nasal allergies. As the adenoids become bigger, the nasal passage become smaller and smaller. Children are born with adenoids which are quite small and usually the adenoids shrink after about 5 years of age, and it particularly disappeared by the teenage years.
- Deviated or crooked septum,
- long term use of a pacifier
- Due to thumb sucking lower jaw may become recessed resulting in a constricted air way whi9ch leads to mouth breathing
What is the treatment for mouth breathing?
Treatment for mouth breathing is available and can be beneficial for children if the condition is caught early. A dentist can check for mouth breathing symptoms and swollen tonsils. If the tonsils are swollen, they can be surgically removed by an ENT specialist
- Allergies should be treated
- Dentist will give expansion appliances designed to widen the palate and open the sinuses and nasal passages.
- Though adenoids usually shrink in the second decade of life, however blockage and sleep apnea may affect growth and development and cause permanent changes in facial or dental development. Decision to remove adenoids is usually taken before it occurs
- Tongue thrusting and thumb sucking habits should be corrected