Top 5 Concerns Associated With Children Mouth Breathing
What Is Mouth Breathing And Why Is It Bad?
Mouth breathing refers to the act of breathing primarily or exclusively through the mouth instead of the nose. While it is normal for the mouth to be used for breathing during intense physical activity or when the nasal passages are congested, chronic mouth breathing can be problematic.
Breathing through the nose is the natural and preferred method for inhalation.
Mouth breathing in children can be a cause for concern and should be addressed promptly. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose can have negative effects on a child’s health and development. Here are some concerns associated with mouth breathing in children:
- Impaired Facial and Dental Development: Nasal breathing plays a crucial role in proper facial and dental development. When children consistently breathe through their mouths, it can lead to altered facial growth patterns. The mouth remains open, causing the muscles in the face and jaw to work differently, potentially resulting in long-term changes such as a narrow dental arch, malocclusion (misaligned teeth), and a recessed chin.
- Dental Problems: Mouth breathing can contribute to various dental issues. The mouth’s natural saliva flow and the protective effects of nasal breathing are bypassed when breathing occurs primarily through the mouth. This can result in a dry mouth, increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
- Sleep Disruptions: Mouth breathing can disrupt a child’s sleep patterns, leading to poor quality sleep and potential sleep-related disorders. Breathing through the mouth during sleep can cause snoring, sleep apnea, and restless nights. These disturbances can impact a child’s cognitive function, behavior, and overall well-being.
- Reduced Oxygen Intake: Nasal breathing allows for efficient filtration, warming, and humidification of the air before it reaches the lungs. When children primarily breathe through their mouths, they miss out on these vital processes. Mouth breathing may result in reduced oxygen intake, leading to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and decreased physical performance.
- Speech and Language Development: The position of the tongue during nasal breathing promotes proper speech and language development. Mouth breathing can affect the placement of the tongue, potentially leading to speech difficulties, such as lisping, articulation issues, and impaired oral motor skills.
If you suspect that your child is consistently mouth breathing, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional, such as a dentist, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, an airway doctor or a oralfacial myologist. They can evaluate the underlying causes and recommend appropriate interventions, such as breathing exercises, addressing allergies or nasal congestion, or referral to an orthodontist or speech therapist if necessary. Early intervention and management of mouth breathing can help mitigate potential long-term consequences and promote optimal health, development, and well-being in children.