Why Mouth Breathing is a Big Deal!


 

As a speech language pathologist, we care how your child breathes and you should too!! Breathing well, helps the entire body function well! Breathing through your nose also facilitates proper oral facial development which in turn positively impacts feeding and speech development.


Chronic mouth breathing in children has many negative effects including:

  • Poor oral hygiene-chronic dry mouth resulting in bad breath and tooth decay

  • Impacted oral facial development-flatter facial features, tired or droopy looking eyes, small/narrow jaw, and forward tongue posture.

  • Interrupted sleep patterns-chronic mouth breathing can result in sleep disordered breathing or sleep apnea.

  • Low energy levels-mouth breathing contributes to poor oxygen exchange in the body resulting in lack of energy, poor focus/attention, and ADHD-like symptoms.

  • Poor dental development- chronic mouth breathing can cause high/narrow dental arches resulting in teeth crowding, malocclusion, and/or TMJ pain.


 

Why might be causing your child's mouth breathing?

  • Allergies

  • Chronic congestion/sinus issues

  • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids

  • Enlarged turbinates

  • Narrow upper arch-upper airway

  • Tethered oral tissues (tongue/lip/buccal ties)

  • Oral dysfunction

  • Deviated septum

If you have concerns about your child chronically mouth breathing, seek out help from a knowledgeable provider. Typically, an ENT is a great professional to seek out to assess airway concerns. If your child is receiving speech or feeding services, discussing your concerns with your child's therapist can also be a great place to start.