How Dentists Play a Role in Childhood Mental Health

dentist and childs mental healthSCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA

Used to, the term “mouth breather” was meant as an insult. Although meant to be jeer,mouth breathing can be extremely harmful to your health and wellness. In fact, children may find themselves at an elevated risk level for specific medical issues if they consistently breathe through their mouths. Our Scotts Valley airway dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share on the blog today how dentists play a role in childhood mental health by addressing poor oral habits such as mouth breathing.

Mouth breathing may have serious mental effects

Breathing through your mouth results in gulping more air than necessary. Even though the large amounts of air are a surplus, shallow breaths through the nose are more efficient. Additionally, mouth breathing may open the door to developing a sleep breathing disorder, especially in children. Our Los Gatos dentists who treat sleep apnea explain that a sleep breathing disorder occurs when the airway is partially or wholly blocked, resulting in frequent sleep cycle disruptions and reduced critical oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels can impact your child’s growth and development and cause symptoms such as headache, moodiness, chronic tiredness, and an inability to focus.

Over time, oxygen deficiency and inadequate sleep may create complex harmful effects, resulting in the following consequences:

  • A reduction in the brain’s synaptic connections.
  • Reduced oxygen levels and poor sleep may cause problems learning and potentially lower your IQ.
  • Impaired prefrontal cortex development, which is where your brain learns and processes new information.
  • Increased cortisol and adrenaline levels may lead to aggressive behavior or anxiety and is a leading cause of manifested hyperactivity disorder symptoms like ADD or ADHD.

Common triggers of mouth breathing include allergies and asthma. In addition, many children develop the habit due to childhood thumbsucking. Most people mouth breathe while sleeping and never realize they have a harmful habit. Fortunately, our Santa Cruz dentists who treat mouth breathing can diagnose the condition by examining bite alignment, behavioral changes, or a speech impediment like a lisp.

Mouth breathing is a treatable condition through functional orthodontics and myofunctional therapy. The oral appliances effectively treat your child before they need braces and may help correct adverse developments on the jaw and facial development from mouth breathing. Our dentists in Scotts Valley that offer functional orthodontics for kids explain that children are not the only ones who can benefit from myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy is a series of exercises that work the mouth muscles and tongue to retrain the orofacial system and achieve ideal resting oral posture with your teeth closed, lips closed, and tongue resting on the upper palate.

Airway Dentist in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California

Some people may deem chronic mouth breathing a minute problem. However, the consequences listed above are only a few potential consequences if you choose to avoid mouth breathing treatment. Our certified myofunctional therapists in Santa Cruz possess the knowledge and experience to address mouth breathing habits and the effects left on the orofacial system. Feel free to call and schedule a consultation at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411 or book an appointment online today