Mouth Breathing can Affect your child’s Facial Development

mouth breathing childs facial developmentSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Parents, have you ever paid attention to the way your child breathes? If your child is breathing frequently through the mouth, he or she could be dealing with a host of different health consequences that could affect their oral health, their success in school, their emotions, and even change their appearance. Your functional dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry wants to take a deeper look at how mouth breathing can affect the facial development of your child.

Mouth breathing can impede the development of a child’s growing facial structure

When a person breathes through the mouth, it creates a domino effect throughout the orofacial system. The muscles in the cheeks tighten, applying additional force to both the upper and lower jaws. Exerted consistently over time in a child who is still growing and developing, these forces actually serve to narrow the dental arches and the facial structure itself. This narrowing also can create a shortage of room in the mouth for the tongue. Rather than rest against the roof of the mouth as intended, the tongue often drops down into the floor of the mouth.

The poor position of the tongue has its own set of consequences. The upper arch can narrow even further, hindering the development of the mid-face. The tongue also could shift back into the airway during sleep, creating the type of obstruction that can precipitate the development of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. 

This chain of events was reinforced by a pair of studies published in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics. A dentist named Egil Harvold plugged the noses of young monkeys in both studies, forcing them to breathe through the mouth. Crooked teeth and poorly developed jaws and facial structures were common among all these test subjects. In other words, their faces became long and narrow, and the lower jaw less prominent.

Know the symptoms of mouth breathing in your child

Any behavior cannot be corrected if it is not identified. Take a few moments to watch how your child breathes, both in a relaxed state while awake, as well as when the sleep. Symptoms of mouth breathing include snoring, having greater vulnerability to allergies and sinus problems, having swollen tonsils and adenoids, the presence of dark circles under the eyes which also may be referred to as “allergic shiners,” or the development of a more angular, elongated facial structure.

Facial growth guidance in Scotts Valley

The good news is that, if your child is breathing through the mouth, there is help available. Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian and Dr. Max Ebrahimian are both practitioners of Orthotropics®, a technique of medical science that uses specially designed oral appliances to guide or change the growth of the face and jaws. Often accomplished through the use of customized oral appliances, Orthotropics® can reverse the negative consequences of mouth breathing, including the development of wider dental arches and even changing the appearance of the facial structure itself.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry also offers myofunctional therapy in Scotts Valley, which consists of a series of simple and relatively pain-free exercises that work the tongue in conjunction with the muscles of the face and mouth. Performed consistently over time, myofunctional therapy re-trains the orofacial system to correct bad habits and attain the ideal oral resting posture: with lips together, teeth together, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth, as well as proper breathing methods such as nasal breathing.

To learn more about Orthotropics®,, myofunctional therapy or any of the other services at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, contact our office at (831) 438-4411 to schedule a consultation.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry provides total oral health care for patients located in the California communities of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley.