Interceeding Facial Growth and Development
Knoxville and Maryville TN
You may not realize it, but the way your child breathes plays a crucial role in their development into a happy, healthy person. Chronic mouth breathing has been known to cause adverse effects on a child’s facial development, behavior, health, and academic performance. Occasional mouth breathing is typically fine, but chronic mouth breathing is a problem, and here is what you should know about it.
The consequences of chronic mouth breathing
Mouth breathing adversely affects your child’s facial development. It can completely change the look of your child’s face, also causing crooked teeth or a recessed chin. Mouth breathing can cause an obstructed airway, meaning your child is not sleeping well at night. Sleep breathing disorders like obstructive sleep apnea even can develop just from the way your child breathes. Many children who are chronic mouth breathers are misdiagnosed as having attention deficit disorders (or hyperactivity) when the real problem is their airway. With mouth breathing, early intervention is key to avoiding developmental and health issues, as well as social problems down the road.
The potential effects of mouth breathing can include any of the following:
- Long/narrow facial development
- Narrow mouth
- Dental malocclusion (uneven bite)
- High palatal vaults
- Gummy smile
- Unattractive facial features
- Narrow dental arches
- Chronic fatigue
- Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD in children)
How can mouth breathing affect your health?
When breathing through the mouth, your body is gulping more air than it needs. Even with this surplus of air, you are not absorbing the proper amounts of oxygen, therefore robbing your body of a necessary nutrient. Low oxygen levels have been linked to cardiac failures and high blood pressure. Studies have also shown that mouth breathing is linked to sleep disorders. Nasal breathing, by contrast, is the most efficient way to deliver the proper amounts of oxygen to the body. When you breathe through the nose, you take shallow breaths that last longer, allowing your body more time to absorb oxygen. Nasal breathing also is higher in nitric oxide, which supports a healthier immune system.
How can a dentist help with mouth breathing?
The dentist plays a vital role in diagnosing and treating the issue of mouth breathing. It is important to screen for chronic mouth breathing and airway obstruction disorders for patients of all ages, but especially in children. Early treatment of airway obstruction or mouth breathing issues helps facilitate proper facial skeletal growth and airway development for your child. Crestview Dental Care can perform this screening even on very young children. From there, we can provide treatment through a course of myofunctional therapy. This involves performing a series of simple exercises that work the musculature of the face and mouth, as well as the tongue. One of the goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve the ideal rest oral posture; this means, when you’re not eating or speaking, your orofacial system should be at rest with the lips closed, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth. Achieving this rest oral posture also encourages you to breathe through the nose, as recommended, and not through the mouth.
Proper jaw development and alignment are crucial for everyone. At Crestview Dental Care, we are a HealthyStart™ dental practice. This means that we can help your child develop to his or her full potential in terms of the upper and lower jaw, and the airway. If your child mouth breathes, clenches and grinds their teeth, is a bed wetter, has ADHD, or has poor performance at school, consider a consultation with our HealthyStart™ dentists at Crestview Dental Care.
To find out more about how we can treat mouth breathing at Crestview Dental Care, contact us today by calling (865) 982-1700. We are happy to care for patients from Knoxville, Maryville, and surrounding areas in Tennessee.