How Your Child’s Breathing Patterns Can Lead to Abnormal Dental Development

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • How Your Child’s Breathing Patterns Can Lead to Abnormal Dental Development
childss breathing patterns can lead to abnormal dental development

Most people, including children, breathe in and out through their nose. There are exceptions, however, whether it is because of learned habits, genetic influences, or allergies or infections, some people breathe through their mouth at least in part. Children who breathe through their mouths in whole or in part may be diagnosed with Mouth-Breathing Syndrome (MBS).

Mouth breathing is natural when people are nasally congested due to a cold or even allergies. When exerting ourselves strenuously through exercise, we breathe through our mouth because it’s a faster way to get oxygen to our muscles.

Beyond those instances, though, prolonged mouth breathing can cause medical issues, particularly in children. Some symptoms of mouth-breathing in children are slowed growth, more than usual night-time crying, enlarged tonsils, cracked lips, poor concentration, and irritability, and drowsiness. This collection of symptoms can sometimes be misdiagnosed as unrelated conditions such as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder — especially when they are exhibited at school.

As serious as mouth-breathing can be for a child’s health generally, let’s turn to a more specific question, being whether mouth-breathing can harm a child’s dental development. A pediatric dentist in Livonia can discuss the impact of your child’s mouth breathing with you.

Does mouth breathe harm children’s dental development?

A study published in the November-December 2014 Journal of International Oral Health called “Influence of mouth breathing on the dentofacial growth of children: a cephalometric study” considered whether children’s breathing patterns were related to tooth problems.

The study was performed with 50 children aged between six and 12 who were divided into three groups depending on whether their adenoids were enlarged, whether they had nasopharynx obstruction (and to what extent), and whether they breathed through their nose. Pediatric dentists at a dental office in Livonia will be able to explain the relevance of this study to your child’s dental health.

The study determined that children with mouth-breathing habits showed significantly increased rates of a sunken facial profile, lip incompetency, and lower incisor proclination. Breathing through the nose rather than the mouth changes the child’s primary respiratory pathway. That change alters the location and influence of forces experienced and exerted by a child’s lips, cheeks, and tongue when they breathe through their nose. The alteration of those forces can result in significant dental abnormalities.

What dental problems does mouth breathing cause?

The results of the study showed that mouth-breathing subjects experienced malformed development of the lower incisors and that an even higher forward incline was apparent in children with inflamed adenoids. This result was established with strong statistical significance.

Lip incompetency associated with mouth breathing by this study means an inability to maintain a closed mouth with lips together without showing strain in the facial muscles.

Malformed development of the lower incisors and proclination of the lower incisors is important cosmetically, and for reasons other than cosmetics as a pediatric dentist near you can explain. There is a known association between the gingival recession and the development of incisor proclination. How much should you be worried about this issue if your child breathes through his or her mouth? Following a consultation with you and your child, that’s a question that a pediatric dentist in Livonia can answer for you. And, more than that, a pediatric dentist can help develop a plan to respond to and address any dental implications of your child’s breathing patterns.

If your child has a pattern of breathing through his or her mouth, arrange a consultation with a dentist in Livonia as soon as possible so that the issues can be understood and addressed.