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Mouth Breathing in Children a Sign of an Underlying Complication

June 1, 2016

Filed under: children — drbushdid @ 9:23 pm

mouth breathing in childrenAs you may know, Dr. Bushdid has been treating patients with TMJ for a number of years. While many people suffer from this disorder, it is a fact that most symptoms of TMJ can be avoided if proper preventive measures are taken early on.

It’s not uncommon for parents to notice their child mouth breathing, which many don’t feel is a concerning issue. However, if your child snores or breathes through their mouth excessively while sleeping, they may actually suffer from an underlying condition. In fact, mouth breathing is a sign of a sleep disorder that requires treatment. If left untreated, it can cause a child to have poor sleep quality and can produce negative implications on their health.

Causes of Mouth Breathing in Children

According to a recent study in Finland, 491 children ranging from 6 to 8 years old suffering from a sleep disorder were evaluated to determine the presence of certain risk factors. This included looking at tonsil size, jaw position, and facial proportions. According to the results, almost 10 percent of the children had a form of sleep disorder breathing, which was defined as frequent loud snoring, mouth breathing during sleep, and obstructive sleep apnea.

The results of the study found children with enlarged tonsils had a nearly 4 percent increased risk for sleep disorder breathing, while those with a cross bite were over 3 times as likely to have the condition. In addition, children with complex facial profiles were nearly 3 times as likely to have a sleep condition when compared to children with other facial types. The results of the study concluded features of the head, neck, throat and dental conditions were the most significate risk factors for developing mouth breathing. As a result, they are more likely to develop behavioral, emotional, and cognitive complications.

After evaluating 11,000 children with mouth breathing, it was found the children were more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems, including hyperactivity, depression, and anxiety. In addition, those children were also found to be twice as likely to have aggression and have lower intellectual abilities when compared to those without.

Among the leading cause of mouth breathing is due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids, as reported in “Keeping Kids Fit: Tonsils, adenoids serve purpose, but can safely come out” by Ramzi Younis, M.D. Dr. Younis reports abnormally large tonsils and adenoids obstruct breathing and oxygen during sleep, leading to sleep disorder breathing. The most commonly reported symptoms of the condition include open-mouth breathing, loud snoring, and restlessness while sleeping. In addition, some children have bedwetting, excessive sweating, and daytime fatigue. Overtime, symptoms of sleep deprivation can develop, resulting in poor performance, behavioral issues, and irritability.

Treating Mouth Breathing in Children

Mouth breathing in children can be successfully treated to eliminate the negative implications by addressing the underlying cause. For example, those with large adenoids and tonsils can safely have them removed without suffering long-term consequences. For those who have cross bites or alignment issues, orthodontic treatments can improve mouth breathing.

With roughly 2 to 4 percent of children suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and another 10 percent chronic snorers, it’s important to have your child’s airway assessed if they snore excessively or mouth breathe. If you’ve noticed your child snoring excessively or breathing with their mouth open while sleeping, please call our office at (305) 547-8550 to schedule a complimentary airway assessment.




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