Have you noticed your child breathing through his mouth more often than not? Does it matter if your child breathes through his mouth instead of through his nose? Yes, it does. We’ll discuss some of the problems that can arise from mouth breathing in this article.
Usually a child will be a mouth breather out of habit or from a pathological cause. Pathological mouth breathing can have an underlying cause of a deviated septum, enlarged adenoids, allergies, etc. Basically, their nasal passages are blocked to such a degree that they begin breathing through the mouth in order to get the amount of oxygen their body requires.
If your child has developed a habit of breathing through their mouth instead of their nose, typically, what happened was they had a temporary nasal obstruction caused by a cold or allergies. They were forced to breathe through their mouth during the illness and have continued to do so out of habit, even after their nasal passage has cleared.
Mouth breathing is a common problem that begins in childhood and often continues into adulthood.
If you suspect your child has this problem, observe them from a distance, while they are busy playing or watching TV. If your child keeps their mouth open during normal activities for breathing or if they snore while sleeping, has crooked teeth or has chronic bad breath, your child could be a mouth breather.
So What’s the Big Deal? Does it Really Matter if Your Child Breathes Through His Mouth?
Unfortunately it is a big deal. Mouth breathing can negatively affect a growing face. There can be alterations of the developing muscles associated with the face, tongue and neck. In fact, untreated airway problems could so affect facial growth that corrective jaw surgery, in addition to, procedures required to open nasal airway passages may be required. It goes beyond just affecting the teeth.
Specific craniofacial changes can occur, including a narrow palate, lengthening of the lower part of the face, as well as dental malocclusions. Mouth breathing also leads to dry mouth by reducing the salivary flow. Without the protective saliva flowing through the mouth, your child can be at a higher risk for tooth decay, gingivitis, infections and bad breath.
It is very important to address mouth breathing at an early age, when it is much simpler and faster to treat. Mouth breathing can affect the growth and development of your child. It can also affect the quality of their sleep and may lead to poor concentration during the day.
What Can I Do About It?
If you suspect that your child has a problem with mouth breathing, it is best to take them to an ENT specialist. An ENT(ear, nose & throat specialist) diagnoses and treats diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, throat, larynx, neck and face.
Your Westminster dentist can also help prevent the habit by using trainers and appliances that can help progress the development of normal breathing patterns which will also help in the development of proper alignment and occlusion of your child’s teeth.