Mouth breathing is the act of breathing through your mouth instead of your nose and is usually caused by:
- Enlarged Tonsils
- ADeviated Septum
- Chronic Nasal Obstruction (CNO)
- Nasal Polyps, just to name a few.
In all cases, there is a blockage within the nasal passage that restricts your breathing and because of this restriction, the body is not getting enough Oxygen and has no choice but to get the Oxygen from the only other place it can – through the mouth.
A habit-formed version of Mouth breathing is known as “Habitual Mouth Breathing” and is most prevalent in children. A good way to see if your child has possibly picked up this habit is to observe your child when they are sitting and resting. If you see them breathing through their nose as well as their mouth they may have acquired the habit and this can happen in situations where they were recently sick with a blocked nose (for example) and were forced to breathe through their mouths. What often happens is the child becomes so used to breathing through their mouth that they continue to do so even when fully recovered, causing the habit to arise.
Mouth breathing, if left untreated can lead to a number of Oral problems, especially where children are concerned, so let us now look at some common signs of Mouth Breathing which include:
- Excessively dry lips.
- Chronic bad breath.
- Possible dark circles develop under one’s eyes.
- Waking up tired and irritable
- Crowding or the Lack of spacing between baby teeth (especially kids.)
- Slower than normal growth rate (especially kids)
- Highly Irritable (especially kids)
- Increased crying at night (especially kids)
- Daytime sleepiness (especially kids)
Possible Dental problems caused by Mouth breathing
Here are some effects and consequences that can arise if Mouth Breathing is left untreated:
- Dry Mouth – Mouth breathing can dry out the mouth decreasing the amount of Saliva produced. Saliva, as you know is very important as it helps neutralize the acid in the mouth as well as wash away Bacteria. If there is little to no Saliva present the chances of Tooth decay, cavities, and inflamed, bleeding gums are increased dramatically.
- Mouth breathing can also affect the position of your bite and your teeth because when the mouth is open the teeth have no support from the tongue or lips as they should, causing the tongue to push teeth forward and outward over time.
- Since Mouth breathers can have their teeth slowly pushed forward and apart by the tongue, braces take longer to perform their alignment and an “Orthodontic relapse” can occur and braces may be needed again if the Mouth breathing issue is not resolved once the current braces are removed.
In the case of children in particular:
- Mouth breathing can greatly affect how their faces develop and if not attended to you will find that the child’s face can take on an elongated appearance with the lower jaw resting in an abnormal position.
- Since their jaw position has changed their bite may be off or their teeth may protrude forward with them needing Orthodontic treatments to correct this.
Possible Treatment – children.
If seen early for children mouth breathing damage can be kept to a minimum. A Dentist, for example, may discover that the child`s jaw is narrow and may use devices to widen the jaw causing the mouth and sinuses to expand and making effective nasal breathing possible again.
The treatment for Habitual Mouth Breathing can involve using Myofunctional therapy where the Orthodontist uses “Trainers.” Trainers have appliances that effectively:
- Prohibit mouth-breathing
- Train the lower lip so that it will rest in the correct position, supporting the teeth and reducing “tongue thrust”
- Corrects the tongue’s position
- Help straighten teeth and jaws
- Overbites and overly gummy smiles caused (in part) by mouth breathing can be treated by Orthodontic procedures such as the use of Braces.
If you feel you or your child may be suffering from mouth breathing problems do not hesitate to contact our resident expert in the field at our dental clinic in Dubai at +971 4 357 5783 or visit our website at https://www.drpaulsdentalclinic.com