How Mouth Breathing Can Impact Oral Health
August 9, 2016
Is your child a mouth breather? While you may think this is a temporary habit or harmless tendency, chronic mouth breathing can compromise your child’s smile health as well as their facial development. There are many reasons why your child may choose to breathe through his or her mouth instead of their nose. Common culprits include chronic nasal obstruction, in which the body automatically reverts to mouth breathing when the nose isn’t bringing in enough oxygen. Some kids are mouth breathers all day long, and others resort to this form of inhalation during sleep. Either way, it is important to address this habit before it causes serious issues.
Diagnosing A Mouth Breather
There are some telltale signs and symptoms of a mouth breather, including the following:
- Dry lips
- Chronic Bad breath
- Crowded teeth
- Snoring and open mouth while sleeping
- Increased number of airway infections including sinus, ear, colds
In terms of oral health, mouth breathing can cause the oral cavity to dry out. A chronic dry mouth is an open invitation to a host of dental problems. This is due to a lack of saliva production, and we need our spit to neutralize harmful acids on our teeth and rinse away bacteria and food particles. Therefore, mouth breathers become susceptible to bad breath, tooth decay and even gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health condition that can lead to stroke, heart disease and other complications if not treated.
Beyond dental health, a child who breathes through the mouth may also suffer from poor sleep, lower oxygen concentration in the blood, and facial deformities. Believe it or not, even our posture changes when we rely on mouth breathing rather than nose breathing. This is due to the fact that our body is trying to keep the airway open. It is possible for children to experience developmental problems within the face if mouth breathing is not addressed. Characteristics such as a long, narrow face, flat nose, small nostrils and thin upper lips may be present.
At Soft Touch Dentistry, we are qualified to identify specific signs of mouth breathing in children and adults at your regular dental checkup. We can help you address the root cause of your mouth breathing so that your smile doesn’t suffer in the future. If you have a child that is a mouth breather, schedule your consultation today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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Soft Touch Dentistry
O’Fallon, IL 62269