Mouth Breathing Habit in Children

“Sleeping like a Baby” is what a perfect night’s sleep is meant to be — Restful and Restorative. For children, sleep is a time of growth and brain development. Many newborns and children cannot sleep well, due to which they miss out on that restorative sleep that lets them grow and develop to their potential best. Mouth Breathing is one of the major reasons resulting in Sleep-Disordered Breathing or Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in children.

Why Is Nasal Breathing Vital For Good Health?

Nasal breathing is the most efficient way for the body to absorb oxygen. It increases the lung’s ability to absorb oxygen and raises blood oxygen levels. The nose is well suited for breathing , as it heats, humidifies and filters the inhaled air to prevent bacteria and particles from entering the lungs. 

Mouth Breathing Habit in Children

How Mouth Breathing Changes Facial and Oral Development ?

When Nasal Breathing is blocked, facial and dental development become abnormal. Untreated Mouth Breathing leads to development of long, narrow faces with crooked teeth, receded jaw, future TMD ( Temporo Mandibular Joint Disorder) and headache issues. When the jaw and airway don’t fully develop, the airway can become easily obstructed during sleep. The airway is a tight space, often made tighter by large tonsils and adenoids in both children and infants. If the airway becomes obstructed, the brain must bounce out of deep sleep and into a lighter stage of sleep in order to grind and clench to push the jaw forward to allow for breathing again. This eventually puts the TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) under chronic stress.  

How Mouth Breathing Impacts Behavior and Personality?

During deep sleep Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, which is essential to a child’s brain development and long bone growth. Once deep sleep is interrupted, HGH stops being secreted. Not having enough HGH stunts the growth and brain development of a child. Deep sleep is the body’s chance to restore, repair, and heal from the stress of the day. It’s a time of memory consolidation and cementing learning. Hormones that control appetite and other critical functions are regulated and stabilized during this stage. In a child who is breathing through the mouth, the brain is not able to rest and sleep is not restorative. Children who are deprived of deep sleep are often hyperactive as a result of adrenaline used to compensate for sleepiness.

They often aren’t able to achieve their academic potential because their brains and bodies aren’t at their best in this damaged, deep sleep-deprived state. They’re often diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioural issues. They have lowered immune systems, poor health, and can be overweight.

Common Causes Of Obstructed Nasal Breathing ?

Obstructions of the nasal passage create a Domino Effect and impact the overall health and wellbeing of children.  The most common causes include:

  • Allergic Rhinitis. This is the inflammation and swelling caused by allergens in the mucous membranes of the nasal passages.  The most common allergens in allergic rhinitis are dust mites, animal dander, grasses and pollens.
  • Deviated Nasal Septum.  A scenario where the bone and cartilage between both sides of the nose tend to collapse and deviate in the nose.  It is particularly common in children with narrow upper jaws. A Consultation with the ENT Surgeon is advised for its management.
  • Tonsils and Adenoids.  Tonsils and Adenoids are sacs of lymphatic tissue that filter bacteria and viruses that enter the mouth and nasal passages.  They differ from other lymphatic tissues in the body because they tend to outgrow their usefulness as a person gets older.  A Consultation with the ENT Surgeon is advised for its management
  • Habitual. This cause is categorized as an Oral Parafunctional Habit. It can be corrected by use of an Oral Mouth Breathing Habit Breaking Appliance, which is custom made for the child by the Pediatric Dentist. Consult a pediatric dentist in Delhi for further assistance.




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