Chronic Mouth Breathing and your Child’s Development

mouth breathing and childs developmentSanta Cruz and Scotts Valley, CA

The health and well-being of your child are affected by food choice, sleep, and medical care but did you know that your child also could be impacted by the way they breathe? For example, if your child frequently breathes through their mouth, then it could have a negative effect in various areas, including facial development, academic performance, behavior, and even overall health.

Why the way you breathe matters

When you breathe through your mouth, your body actually receives an insufficient amount of oxygen. Mouth breathing also dries out the mouth, potentially making your teeth more susceptible to the threat of decay. People who breathe through the mouth habitually keep their mouth open, an unconscious behavior that can impact the formation of the jaws, leading to crooked or crowded teeth, narrow dental arches, or even an overbite.

People who breathe through the mouth are far more likely to snore, which is considered the major precursor to a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. A serious disorder, sleep apnea can lead to chronic fatigue and, left untreated, raise the risk of several chronic, systemic ailments that can even threaten your life such as cardiac disease, hypertension, depression, and even cancer. In children, sleep apnea often manifests symptoms similar to a hyperactivity disorder. If your child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, but the standard medications and treatments for such a disorder are failing to yield results, then the real issue could stem from their airway.

Mouth breathing also can have a negative impact on the facial development of your child. It can change the appearance of your child altogether, causing crooked teeth or a recessive chin. Other consequences of mouth breathing include a narrow mouth, misaligned bite, high and narrow dental arches, and much more.

Treatment through myofunctional therapy

Your Santa Cruz family dentist can identify an airway issue, especially if chronic mouth breathing causes it. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we can treat chronic mouth breathing through a course of myofunctional therapy. One of our dental hygienists, Jeanne Shimizu, is also a trained, certified myofunctional therapist. She can prescribe a course of myofunctional exercises, which are simple and relatively painless and serve to re-train the mouth and tongue to function properly. One of the goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve ideal oral resting posture: with lips together, teeth together, and tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth. This oral resting posture also encourages breathing through the nose, which is more beneficial to your overall health. While also eliminating the risks that come with mouth breathing, nasal breathing encourages a greater absorption of oxygen among several other health benefits.

Myofunctional Therapy in Scotts Valley

For more information about myofunctional therapy, or to learn about how the way you breathe can impact your health, contact the office of Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry today at (831) 438-4411 to schedule an appointment.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves patients located in the California communities of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley.