Mouth breathing can have the greatest impact on the kids due to its impact on dental and facial development. Kids whose mouth breathing has not been treated can develop longer and narrower faces as well as a crooked tooth.
Mouth breathing is nothing but a type of respiration that occurs instead of the nose through the mouth. This one happens to be a kind of breathing that is unassuming, unsuspecting and harmless. Though it is alright if you breathe through the mouth occasionally (like during exercise) but doing this all the time can have adverse effects on your body and health.
Causes of Mouth Breathing in Kids
Mouth breathing is a common problem that can begin in childhood and can continue unnoticed and unabated through adulthood. There are two major types of mouth breathing – habitual and pathological.
- Habitual Mouth Breathing – The kid develops this habit after a strong cold that is accompanied by allergy or nasal obstruction that caused her to breathe through the mouth at the time of illness. In such a case, even after the cold has been cured, the kid continues to breathe (out of habit) through the mouth.
- Pathological Mouth Breathing – There is an underlying cause for the pathological mouth breathing like the deviated nasal septum, enlarged adenoids, allergic rhinitis, asthma etc., which leads to the formation of a real obstruction in the nasal route. As a result of that, the child resorts to breathing through the mouth so that the body gets the required amount of oxygen.
Symptoms of Mouth Breathing in Kids
It is vital for the parents to look for mouth breathing signs in kids. A child may fail to communicate the signs and symptoms. The kids who are mouth breathers will snore at night and will breathe with their mouth open. Kids may also have the following symptoms when they breathe through the mouth.
- Slower growth rate than normal
- Enlarged tonsils
- Increased episodes of crying at night
- Problems of concentrating at school
- Cracked and dry lips
- Daytime sleepiness
Kids suffering from less concentration in school are often misjudged with hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD.
Common Oral Consequences of Mouth Breathing
While mouth breathing has many consequences like the sleep disorder and sleep apnea, abnormal facial growth and development, dark circles under the eyes, being noisy eaters, speech impairment and much more, here primarily the oral consequences of mouth breathing are focused on. Just read on.
· Abnormal Development of Teeth –The persistent mouth breathing can have a great impact on teeth development. At the time when the mouth is held open, the tongue does not get placed in the natural position next to the tooth roof. Normally, the dental ridge of the bone forms around the tongue in a U-shape when the tongue remains in a closed mouth. But the dental ridge takes a V-shape when the tongue gets placed only in the lower jaw and does not press against the upper one. As the “V” shape is narrower than the “U” one, there is not much space for the development of teeth and there is a chance of overcrowding.
· Gum Disease and Gingivitis - One of the consequences of mouth breathing is my mouth that happens because of reduced saliva function. This gives rise to cracked lips and dry mucous membrane. After some time, these cracks make way for the bacteria to penetrate. Even if their oral health is otherwise good, mouth breathers often lead to inflamed and reddish gums in both kids and adults. This can eventually lead to bleeding of gums and loss of the tooth. Long-term gingivitis is also associated with strokes, heart ailments, and dementia.
· Bad Breath – Mouth breathers have enhanced bacteria build-up in their mouth as saliva gets dried up by constantly breathing through the mouth. A dry mouth has enhanced the risk of bad breath. Over 45 percent of the kids who mouth breathe have strong bad breath.
· Dental Cavities – Saliva continuously helps the mouth to remain clean by helping it to drive away bacteria. When the mouth is open, the saliva gets dried up and can give rise to issues like cavities. Saliva is vital to neutralize acids and in removing bacteria. That is why tooth decay increases because of the lack of saliva.
· Abnormal Development of Jaw – The muscle pull when the mouth is kept open for a long time, changes the way the bone is formed. This open posture aggravates the growth of the upper jaw more than the lower one. This can lead to a smile that is gummy with a larger overbite. Moreover, kids breathing constantly through the mouth can have longer jaws and faces that are not lined up in an even manner. This can lead to teeth grinding, jaw pain and give rise to abnormal alignment of teeth.
So if you find that your kid is mouth breathing, you should not delay and take him/her to a competent and experienced ENT specialist or the most reputed dental clinic in Bangalore where the experts can detect the real issue and suggest ways to guide your kid out of the problem. They also ensure that your child gets the coveted teeth alignment and a beautiful smile with a healthy mouth in the long run.
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