Children and Mouth Breathing: What to Know

Mar 18 2023

Mouth breathing is a common problem among children. Some parents wrongfully believe that mouth breathing is nothing more than a harmless habit that their child will one day grow out of. Every parent wants their child to look and feel healthy when they grow older, and mouth breathing can complicate these aspirations. A child who breathes through their mouth frequently is not properly breathing or swallowing, either. Many complications can arise due to this habit including poorly developed facial structure which impacts your child’s self-esteem and quality of life. Our dentists at Distinctive Dental Solution can help your child maintain good dental habits throughout his or her life. Here’s what parents should know about children and mouth breathing.

What Is the Cause of Mouth Breathing?

The cause of mouth breathing can vary depending on the child’s physical health. Some short-term ailments, such as a stuffy nose, can cause a child to breathe through his or her mouth, but this behavior typically resolves when the ailment ends. But some children have structural issues in their mouths or chronic sinus issues that may cause them to breathe through their mouths. 

Underlying issues that may contribute to ongoing mouth breathing include: 

  • Issues With Structure of Mouth and Bite. Your child may be having a hard time closing their mouth due to structural issues in their jaw or bite.  
  • Blocked Sinuses. Allergies, sinusitis, and other chronic issues that block the nasal passages may lead your child to breathe through their mouth instead. 
  • Poor Habits. Breathing should feel natural, and some children simply develop a bad habit of mouth breathing that needs to be corrected. 

Mouth Breathing Impacts A Child’s Development

Mouth breathing can begin early in a child’s life, beginning with bottle feeding. Other habits, such as thumb sucking, can make mouth breathing more likely, as can allergies, dust, and other environmental factors. This is harmful to a child’s development for several reasons. Childhood is a period in which significant development occurs, and mouth breathing can impact how a child’s oral structures form. A child may develop the following: 

  • Overcrowding and crooked teeth 
  • Uneven jaw
  • Excessively visible gums
  • Narrow palette
  • Chronic pain

Poor breathing habits also mean that the brain isn’t functioning properly. Your child may have issues concentrating, develop sleep disorders, misdiagnosis of ADD or ADHD, have delayed cognitive and social development, and have trouble performing well in school. 

How to Correct Your Child’s Mouth Breathing

In order to stop your child’s poor breathing habits, pay attention to their behaviors. Most children aren’t aware that they are breathing through their mouths. Look for the following signs: 

  • Snoring
  • Trouble speaking
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Dry lips or mouth
  • Lips persistently open
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Concentration difficulties

Visit a Dentist for Advice

If you notice any of the symptoms of mouth breathing in your child, it’s time to visit a dentist. Distinctive Dental Solutions can help ensure that your child’s oral health is protected while we help correct this harmful habit. Call our office today to schedule a checkup. 



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