Mouth Breathing: Why It Can Cause Health Problems
At this time of year the pollen levels are beginning to increase, causing a range of seasonal allergies. These can lead to the upper airways becoming obstructed, creating a problem with mouth breathing. Often your pediatric dentist in NYC will be the first person to identify signs of mouth breathing in a young child, particularly as they will generally see them every six months or so which is often more frequently than they will see their pediatrician.
Issues Caused By Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing can cause a range of issues, particularly if not treated promptly. These can include abnormal dental and facial development, gum disease, crooked teeth and gummy smiles. Often a child who frequently breathes through their mouth will have a longer and narrower face than a child who is able to breathe freely through their nose. Mouth breathing can affect sleeping patterns and may impact their growth and performance at school. Unfortunately it is all too easy for children with mouth breathing problems to be mis-diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity.
What Health Problems Mouth Breathing Can Indicate
Mouth breathing can also cause health problems such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart problems and other medical issues. Kids who breathe through their mouth do not tend to sleep very well and daytime sleepiness can be a symptom. As a result they can find it difficult to concentrate at school and they may under-achieve academically. Children can also become frustrated at school and could show signs of behavioral problems. In addition, mouth breathing is not as comfortable as being able to breathe freely through your nose, particularly as it can lead to the mouth becoming drier as it would be impossible to produce enough saliva under these circumstances.
Detecting and Treating Signs of Mouth Breathing
Here at the Kids Dentistry Center New York, Dr. Marina Krepkh or another of our pediatric dentists can check for any signs of mouth breathing, hopefully catching this condition early on. Our dentists will look at their tonsils or adenoids as these can often be swollen, as well as checking for other signs of mouth breathing. If necessary we can then refer your child to an ear-nose and throat specialist. If your child has a narrow jaw then we can use orthodontic appliances to gently widen it, helping to expanding the sinuses and nasal passages. Widening the jaw will also help your child’s teeth fit together more accurately and can create a nicer facial profile and overall appearance.
Improvements after Treatment for Mouth Breathing
Often children who have had treatment for mouth breathing issues will show a big improvement in their behavior. They may have higher energy levels, will enjoy greater academic success and can generally get more out of life.
Many health care professionals are unaware of the problems which can be caused by mouth breathing, but if you think your child may suffer from this condition then it is a good idea to seek professional help as soon as you can. Our dentists will of course check for any signs of mouth breathing during your child’s regular check-ups but if you think they do have this problem then contact the Kids Dentistry Center for an appointment.