The Secret Enemy of a Healthy Body : Mouth Breathing
Children as well as adults should breathe through their nose only, with their mouth closed.
The importance of breathing through the nose cannot be underestimated for all and is even more important for growing children as it guarantees healthy growth and physical development.
Why mouth breathing?
For many children mouth breathing is just a bad habit that can be corrected. However a child may be unable to breathe easily through the nose when the airway is obstructed due to allergies, hay fever, swollen tonsils or adenoids or when something is blocking the nose. Other medical reasons can also hide behind mouth breathing. If mouth breathing is not transient and becomes chronic or habitual, especially if it is accompanied by sleep difficulty, sleeping with the mouth open or snoring at night, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.
What are the side effects for children?
- Increased tendency to ear-nose-throat infections.
- Sleep disturbance which can adversely affect the child’s growth, development and academic performance. It may also contribute to behavioural problems.
- Negative effects on healthy growth and maturity. High blood pressure, cardiac problems asthma and bed wetting are also commonly associated with chronic mouth breathing.
- Small and slight stature.
- Disturbance in the posture of the head and neck.
- Negative effects on the growth of the face which may lead to unattractive facial features.
- Negative effects on dental development including severe crowding and bite problems.
Treatment For Mouth Breathing : How we can help
Dr. Yaz Nafa has extensive training in diagnosing and treating the negative effects of mouth breathing on the jaws and teeth. On your child’s first consultation, we always look out for signs of mouth breathing and offer our help and advice. If chronic mouth breathing is diagnosed, there are different steps and technique that we can use:
- Identifying the cause
- Myofunctional trainers, especially if mouth breathing is accompanied by other oral habits
- Orthodontic treatment using Removable Expander Plates or Fixed ‘train-track’ braces
Trainers are simple-to-use removable appliances designed specifically to correct poor oral habits such as:
- Thumb / finger sucking or pacifier habits beyond the age of 6
- Tongue Thrust – Tongue sitting forward between the teeth
- Reverse swallowing- Tongue pushing forward against the front teeth when swallowing
- Lip biting – lower lip resting behind the top front teeth
- Strong chin muscle
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Mouth breathing or snoring at night
Correcting these habits early allows the teeth and the jaws to develop correctly and avoids difficult problems and complex orthodontic/ surgical treatment later on in life.
Myo-functional Trainers are most effective after a child’s permanent front teeth have come through and before all the permanent teeth have erupted (Age 6-10 years old is the ideal age to use them)
In summary, mouth breathing is one of the most important and yet frequently ignored problems we see in growing children. The earlier this problem is discovered and addressed, ideally at age 7-9, the shorter and less complex any treatment will be as we will deal with the effects of mouth breathing early before they fully manifest themselves. Its negative effects on facial and dental development and the medical and social problems associated with it can be greatly reduced or avoided. Once we establish natural nasal breathing we see improvements not only in the mouth at the level of jaws and teeth, but in the general health, the entire body and posture.
Is Your Child a Mouth Breather? We Can Them Stop
Contact us today to arrange a consultation with Dr. Yaz Nafa to find out how we can help you on 020 8460 6464, firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book now!