Mouth Breathing & Your Oral Health
Some people mouth breath when they are asleep, have a cold or congestion, or even on a day-to-day basis. Allergies often give way to mouth breathing, as well as issues such as chronic nasal obstruction. Whatever makes it physically impossible for a person to breathe through their nose results in the body’s only other choice – mouth breathing.
Does your child often breathe with an open mouth? How about your significant other? Do your they snore loudly and wake up exhausted everyday? Unfortunately, there are other harmful side effects contributed to mouth breathing as well. Many people don’t realize that mouth breathing can actually be a complex health concern, and should be checked out by your dentist and physician.
Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Breathing:
- Crowded teeth – can be a long term side-effect if left untreated
- Dry mouth
- Digestive upset
- Poor sleep – even though you got all 8 hours. Can cause chronic fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Red or inflamed guns
- Dry lips
- Cavities – raises you risk of getting cavities.
- Bad breath
- Frequent airway infections
- Soar throat
- Cold symptoms
Health Issues Caused By Mouth Breathing
Improper Facial Growth & Skeletal Deformities
Mouth breathing can alter your child’s face shape and jaw position. This is most often seen in children because of their continued and generally rapid growth. Facial growth due to mouth breathing often leads to long, narrow faces with regressed cheekbones, lower jaw, and chin. Because of this, teeth may become crooked, while smiles may appear gummier.
Even posture can be affected due to the facial and skeletal issues connected to mouth breathing. In order to breathe more easily, the airway must be open. Hunched shoulders and a forward-leaning head help to open the airways while negatively influencing posture.
Mouth Breathing & Speech Impediments
Many mouth-breathing children between the ages of 4 and 12 have speech alterations and impediments such as sound omissions, lisps, and articulatory disorders. Mouth breathing can change the way the tongue works, known as a tongue “thrust.” This negatively affects speech, swallowing, and chewing. This could lead to a child feeling self-conscious. Depending on the severity of the speech impediment(s), a speech pathologist may be necessary to correct speech alterations and slurs.
Snoring & Sleep Apnea Caused By Mouth Breathing
Because mouth breathing is most often a result of a nasal obstruction, sleep issues are common. Snoring and nights filled with poor sleep are more prevalent in mouth breathers as well. The fatigue and headaches can be debilitating!
Also, mouth breathing can further affect and aggravate sleep apnea. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause depression, anxiety, weight gain, and high blood pressure. That being said, mouth breathing and sleep apnea can be a deadly combo.
When oxygen is inhaled through the mouth rather than the nose, your blood is not actually getting all of the oxygen that it needs. This can lead to heart problems and other health issues.
What Can Be Done?
Thankfully, mouth breathers can learn to change this habit. Ensure that your child’s presumed “ADD” or “ADHD” is not actually lack of focus caused by poor sleep due to mouth breathing. Look for the previously mentioned signs and symptoms, and take action. Mouth breathing can be corrected, but it is easier to correct when caught early. Parents, keep an eye out for indications of mouth breathing, and call us to schedule a thorough dental exam for your child. Or request an appointment online!