Breathing is something we do all the time without really thinking about it, so the idea that there are unhealthy ways to breath might take people by surprise. Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose can lead to a wide array of health and hygiene problems, especially in children. Continue reading to see if you have reason for concern and how the habit can be broken.
Mouth breathing is common among children and adults alike. What most people don’t realize is that breathing through your mouth instead of your nose could negatively impact oral health and is a main cause of dental and facial irregularities in children.
Mouth breathing can cause different kinds of short-term issues for children, many of which are connected to poor sleep quality due to getting insufficient oxygen by breathing through the mouth. If your child is exhibiting the following symptoms, it may be due to mouth breathing:
- Impaired speech: when a child’s mouth is always open, certain sounds become more difficult to say.
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath): an open mouth tends to be a dry mouth, which means there isn’t enough saliva to clean out the germs.
- Tooth decay: other serious byproducts of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.
- Irritability, lethargy, and inattention: less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.
Treating mouth breathing in children early can reduce or prevent the negative effect on facial and dental development. The habit of mouth breathing can be caused by many different things. For some children, it is simply a habit, in which case they can be encouraged to breathe through their nose. For others, mouth breathing could be the result of a different condition. A misaligned bite that makes it difficult to keep the mouth closed, allergies that clog up the nose, and large tonsils that obstruct airways are all causes that make mouth breathing more complicated to fix. A visit to a dentist or orthodontic clinician can help determine if there may be a problem that needs correcting.
Our goal is to provide you with information to help you alleviate your concerns about mouth breathing. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Ontario office. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Dr. Rondeau & Team Rondeau