Picture this: you are watching your kid as he is playing with his Lego when you notice that his mouth is always opened when he breathes. Is that an issue or just a cute trait, like dimples or a snub nose.
You may be surprised to learn that this apparently benign habit has the potential to lead to numerous oral health problems as well as sleep apnea, speech problems, and improper facial development.
Is Mouth Breathing Really That Problematic?
The correct position for proper breathing is with the mouth closed, inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils. Some people, however, keep it in an open resting position and breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose. The reasons for developing this habit may very from swollen tonsils, a tongue tie, allergies and so on.
If you noticed that your child is a mouth breather, you should speak with your St. Louis pediatric dentist . This habit can lead to numerous oral health issues.
It Can Increase the Risk of Dental Issues
Because they keep their mouth opened the vast majority of the time, patients suffering from this condition tend to have dry mouth too. And, a dry mouth will increase the risks of oral health problems.
Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining the hygiene of our mouth, washing away food and plaque. A dry mouth, on the other hand, can lead to cavities and gum problems. So much so that the Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that dry mouth is the reason for about 30% of cavities in adults.
It Can Affect Orthodontic Treatment
Kids that tend to breathe through their mouth also have a difficult time getting the orthodontic treatment they need. Not only that the treatment lasts longer than usual but because their habit makes it more difficult to fix the space between their teeth, they may need braces again in the future.
Improper Facial Development
It’s odd how simple things like breathing through your nose instead of your mouth can have such a big impact on your development. Mouth breathers tend to have flatter facial features, droopy eyes, a small lower jaw, and narrow palette.
Chronic mouth breathing often leads to a condition called tongue thrust swallowing pattern. Simply put, the tongue pushes forward during speaking, making it difficult for people to pronounce certain sounds, such as “S.”
What to Do About It?
If you notice that your child is a mouth breather, the first thing you should do is find the cause. Maybe they have swollen tonsils and an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist could help.
Don’t forget to let your St. Louis pediatric dentist know as well so that he can examine your child’s oral health and determine if a change in treatment is necessary.