What is mouth breathing and is it an issue for my child health?
In most circumstances, your child’s breathing should be silent and subtle, and through the nose. However some children develop a habit of mouth breathing – if you can hear your child inhaling and exhaling it could indicate an obstruction of the airways related to a range of underlying conditions. Breathing through the mouth is much less efficient than breathing through the nose, resulting in lower levels of oxygen reaching the brain. It might seem a simple thing, but mouth breathing can potentially have big implications for your child’s health, development and wellbeing.
American research finds that mouth breathing is often associated with snoring and sleep apnoea, and increasingly in children, with jaw malformation, bite problems, sleep deprivation and even ADHD and ADD. Breathing through the mouth, particularly at night time, results in reduced levels of oxygen being supplied to the brain. Whilst we sleep, our brains are designed to undergo prefrontal cortex ‘house keeping’ – dumping data from the day that isn’t required for survival or long-term memory storage. With insufficient oxygen being fed to it, the brain goes into stress mode, meaning that whilst your child is asleep, he / she is not experiencing quality sleep – neither productive nor restful. Over time, poor sleep patterns may result in the child developing attention issues – it is estimated that two thirds of children with an ADHD disorder have interrupted sleep, and mouth breathing can play a significant role in this.
At KIDS we offer gentle and effective treatment for mouth breathing, opening up your child’s airways over time to encourage nasal breathing. Non-invasive intervention for children between the ages of three and twelve ensures the best results. Myobrace is a simple and effective pre-orthodontic treatment that is used for just 1-2 hours each day and whilst sleeping. The custom-fitted Myobrace device works by providing light pressure on your child’s hard palate, which over time will allow it to reshape. Coupled with the Myobrace activities your child will follow via an app to encourage correct tongue placement, your child’s teeth and jaw will realign to their natural position. Regular appointments help us monitor progress and make any adjustments that may be required to your child’s personalised exercise programme.
Mouth breathers may have a lower lip that hangs open, along with a longer face and receded jawline. They may also suffer more than normal with headaches. If you recognise the symptoms, or can routinely hear your child breathing, it might be time to book an appointment with your dentist to discuss treatment options. And if you do have a mouth breather at home, you might like to know that we’re currently offering complimentary assessments at KIDS.
For more information and to book a complimentary pre-orthodontics consultation to identify any potential issues early on, please contact our friendly KIDS team on:
- (07) 3186 5738
- PM us at facebook.com/healthykidsqld
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