It may surprise you to learn that although babies and young children naturally breathe through their noses, more and more children are developing the bad habit of breathing through their mouths as they grow. In many cases the problem can continue unnoticed until adulthood when it becomes more difficult to correct.
If you observe your child while they are watching TV or playing, and they fail to keep their lips sealed (i.e. their mouth is open to breathe), then your child is probably a mouth breather. Other indications can include snoring during sleep, dark circles under their eyes, crooked teeth or chronic bad breath.
Mouth breathing can be caused by:
- Conditions such as enlarged adenoids, asthma, or allergies where there is actually an obstruction to the nasal airway requiring them to breathe through their mouth to get the necessary amount of oxygen.
- Sometimes children need to breathe through their mouth when they suffer from a cold, but after they are well again still continue to breathe through their mouth out of habit.
- Stress and anxiety
The problem with breathing through the mouth is that it negatively affects facial and dental development. This habit can cause the upper jawbone that runs from the teeth up to the eyes to grow downward and backward, resulting in a thinner upper jaw and face which can constrict the nasal passages, making it even harder to breathe through the nose.
The tongue ends up resting in the middle of the mouth or down in the oral cavity to allow air to pass rather than resting in the normal position up against the palate behind the front teeth. Each time we swallow normally the tongue presses up against the palate stimulating the upper jaw. However, if we swallow incorrectly the tongue’s force is directed elsewhere and because it is a strong muscle this results in the palate changing shape making it harder for the teeth to fit and remain aligned. In fact, the muscles in the tongue, cheeks and lips work together in a similar way to braces, determining the position of teeth.
The Dental Lounge @ Robina has a special interest in children’s dentistry and offers a range of dental services including the Myobrace system, featuring a device that helps children improve the alignment of their jaw and tongue. **Stay tuned for our next blog wherein we will discuss in more depth the benefits of Myobrace as a natural preventative system.
In the meantime, if you think your child is presenting with the indicators mentioned above, the sooner you consult with a dental professional the better. Contact us by phoning (07) 5580 8855, or pop in and we will be more than happy to discuss your particular situation and provide a recommendation. The Dental Lounge is conveniently located at 7/100 Cheltenham Dr, Robina QLD 4228.