As a parent, nothing is more important than your child’s health and wellbeing. That’s why it’s crucial to ask yourself: Is Mouth Breathing Harmful For Kids? There is a strong correlation between chronic mouth breathing and various behavioral and health issues. However, the good news is that with proper treatment, chronic mouth breathing can often be cured. Don’t wait until it’s too late to address this issue. Consult with a healthcare professional and take the necessary steps to help your child breathe easier and live a healthier life.
Although people can breathe through their mouths, nostrils, or a mix of the two, we function most effectively when we inhale oxygen through our noses. When you breathe, the nose filters, heats, and generates chemicals that keep you healthy.
Learn about the advantages of nasal breathing and the dangers, causes, and symptoms of mouth breathing.
How Nasal Breathing Guards Your Health
In many ways, nasal respiration promotes health. The hairs lining your nose and nasal passageways protect against viruses, germs, fungi, dust, and spores.
Second, if you live somewhere cold, your nose helps to warm and humidify the air you breathe, which is good for your respiratory health.
Lastly, your nose creates nitric oxide, an essential molecule that boosts your cardiovascular system and immune system. The nitric oxide in your nasal passages is transported to your lungs and, ultimately, your bloodstream via nasal respiration. According to research, nitric oxide may lower respiratory tract infections by inactivating viruses and impeding their replication.
Is Mouth Breathing Unhealthy?
Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, D.O., a pediatrician, states, “Mouth breathing is typically not a major issue.” It may result in chapped lips and poor breath.
She says that when most individuals have a head cold, they breathe through their lips because their nasal passages are enlarged and clogged with mucus. Once the cold has subsided, kids will resume breathing through their noses in a week or two.
Yet, if left untreated, mouth breathing in children has been related to:
- Behavioral problems
- Compressed airway
- Facial and dental anomalies
- Halitosis (poor breath) (bad breath)
- expanded tonsil size
- Learning difficulties
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Slower development
- Weakened immune system
Mouth breathing that persists for weeks or months might potentially be indicative of a greater issue that must be addressed.
Signs and Causes of Mouth Breathing
“Allergies and swollen tonsils are two typical reasons for chronic mouth breathing,” explains Dr. Cazorla-Lancaster. Moreover, sleep apnea can cause mouth breathing.
According to Dr. Cazorla-Lancaster, children whose allergies cause them to breathe via their mouths may acquire the following:
- darkness under their eyes
- Chronic nasal congestion
Because they will not sleep well, they may experience weariness and concentration issues at school.
Enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids
According to Dr. Cazorla-Lancaster, children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids partially obstructing their airways may exhibit comparable symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping, snoring, and sleep interruptions (called sleep apnea).
In addition, Dr. Cazorla-Lancaster explains, “They may have what we term ‘hot potato voice,’ in which their speech is muffled as a result of their tonsils impeding their airway.”
According to Yale Medicine, the following are symptoms of sleep apnea in children:
- Snoring with inter-breath gasping.
- Breathing heavily during sleeping.
- Restless sleep.
- Daytime drowsiness
- Behavioral difficulties.
Sleep apnea can be caused by factors such as obesity, swollen tonsils and adenoids, and Down syndrome or Pierre-Robin syndrome (a congenital disability of the jaw and mouth).
Mouth Breathing Difficulties
According to Jill S. Jeffe, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatric otolaryngology at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, big tonsils and adenoids are almost invariably the cause of sleep apnea in children.
“If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause behavioral issues such as hyperactivity or difficulties paying attention, as well as stunted growth,” she explains. The American Thoracic Society relates poor growth in children to sleep deprivation, which can lead to less growth hormone being secreted during sleep.
Moreover, chronic mouth breathing may result in tooth issues. According to a Bioinformation article published in 2020, mouth breathing might cause the following dental issues:
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease of the jaw joints.
- Myofascial pain
- Enamel erosion
- Malocclusion (tooth misalignment) (teeth misalignment)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Incisive teeth
“Saliva possesses numerous antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities,” explains Samuel Low, DDS, chief dental officer and vice president of dental and clinical affairs at Biolase. “When mouth breathing happens, the mouth becomes parched. As a result of this lack of protection, the decrease in saliva in the mouth increases the risk of infection and inflammation.” According to him, mouth breathing frequently causes gingivitis, which is characterized by red or inflamed gums.
Management of Mouth Breathing
Some parents may be alarmed by the list of potential health risks connected with mouth breathing, but the good news is that most solutions are uncomplicated. Often, treatment entails uncovering the root problem.
A healthcare physician may prescribe surgery for swollen tonsils or adenoids. If a youngster suffers from allergies, antihistamines may be beneficial. Continuous positive airway pressure may assist with sleep apnea (CPAP). The most important thing is not to disregard persistent mouth breathing in youngsters.
According to Dr. Cazoria-Lancaster, if parents observe chronic mouth breathing in their children, it should be addressed by their primary care physician.