Mouth Breathing: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment 101

mouth breathingMouth breathing occurs when people breathe in and out of the mouth, instead of their nose. Some people will breathe through their mouth exclusively if they have a medical condition, such as sleep apnea, or it could be temporary due to a cold.

What Are the Causes of Mouth Breathing?

There are several mouth breathing causes. Temporary causes could be colds, allergies, or enlarged tonsils. Causes could start at birth with abnormalities, including Pierre Robin syndrome or cleft palate. Babies that have a history of thumb sucking can also develop mouth breathing problems later on.

What Are the Health Issues One Could Develop from Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing can cause other conditions, which is why it is important to correct. Mouth breathing can make exercise-induced asthma worse. This will happen because the breath doesn’t get moist or warm, which can help reduce the irritation in airways. Those with sleep apnea may find that symptoms get worse by mouth breathing.

Symptoms of Mouth Breathing

Those who suffer from mouth breathing will often have a slightly opened mouth appearance, and you may be able to hear breathing sounds that come from their mouths. They can often be noisy eaters since mouth breathing can make eating difficult. Another symptom is bad breath because breathing through the mouth can dry out teeth and gums. Other symptoms include speech changes, hoarseness, and dental problems. Research has found that mouth breathing in children can cause changes in the development of their jaws. These children often have a longer face because the jaw isn’t correctly positioned and they can have an overbite.

When You Should See Your Dentist if Symptoms Continue

Mouth breathing is not an emergency condition, but people should see a doctor if they notice symptoms associated with mouth breathing. Parents should make an appointment with a pediatrician if they notice the symptoms in their children, in order to get treatment and not make some conditions worse.

How to Prevent Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing won’t always be able to be prevented, and it could develop because of the shape of the nose or the face. If the nose is frequently congested, trying to avoid mouth breathing in order to prevent it from being a habit is important. Some of these things include with a saline mist to reduce nasal congestion, keeping the house clean of allergens, using air filters in HVAC systems to prevent allergens from spreading, and consciously practicing breathing from the nose instead of the mouth.

Mouth Breathing Treatment

Determining a mouth breathing treatment and how to stop mouth breathing will depend on the underlying cause. If mouth breathing is due to enlarged tonsils, you may be referred to a specialist to remove them. If it has to do with the shape of the nasal passages, individuals could require surgery. Medications to help reduce congestion in the nasal passages, such as decongestants, nasal sprays, and antihistamines, may also help for a short period. Physical therapists and doctors will need to teach patients to retrain their breathing and help them focus on breathing through the nose instead of the mouth.

Since mouth breathing can negatively affect oral health, it’s important to get regular dental check-ups. Visit Banker Dental for any symptoms regarding mouth breathing and regular dental care. If mouth breathing is caught early, it can be treated to prevent problems later on.

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