Does your child mouth breath? It’s dangerous for their health

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Here are a few of many reasons that mouth breathing is bad for anyone and everyone.

Reason No. 1. Mouth breathing causes one to miss out on nitric oxide which causes blood vessels to dilate or expand and helps increase oxygen uptake in the lungs and in every other organ in the body. Therefore, mouth breathing causes a person to miss out on a lot of oxygen.

Reason No. 2. Crooked teeth can result from mouth breathing. And this can be a large expense at the orthodontist’s office. This mouth breathing prevents the jaws from proper development. Extreme examples are long narrow faces, high arched palates, recessed lower jaws, and chronic nasal/ear congestion. This can make the child much more prone to sleep-breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Improper jaw development leads to crooked teeth and narrows the airway. This can result in significant health problems and expenses such as braces to straighten teeth and treatment for OSA.

Reason No. 3. Cavities in teeth can result from mouth breathing. Sugar in the diet is usually blamed for tooth decay. But a dry mouth from mouth breathing leads to conditions in the mouth that are perfect for cavities to develop in. Lack of saliva increases acid levels which increases decay. It also sets the person up for increased periodontal disease and consequently more tooth loss. This all increases the cost of dental care for the family.

Reason No. 4. A deviated nose septum can result from mouth breathing. The smaller upper dental arch from mouth breathing crowds the nasal cavity. This can cause the septum to deviate to one side because of a high arched palate. This, in turn, can inhibit proper breathing throughout life.

Reason No. 5. Tongue position can be affected by mouth breathing. It’s hard to breath when you lie down on your back when your mouth is wide open. Just try it. You would think you could breathe better with your mouth open, but it is just the opposite. An open mouth causes the tongue to move back in the throat, which prevents proper breathing. That’s why people who snore usually have their mouth open.

Reason No. 6. Mouth breathing can lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD in a child. This is because a child with OSA has symptoms which are similar to those of ADHD and the treatment protocol for ADHD (drugs like Ritalin) will make sleep apnea worse.

So, how can we get the child to shut his/her mouth at night? We must find out what causes the child to do this. It may be something as simple as tonsils and/or adenoids that are too big and block the child’s airway too much. The sooner the airway is opened by removing the blockage, the sooner some of the consequences of mouth breathing can be eliminated.

You can read previous articles online at cdapress.com. Just search on “Donald Johnson."

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Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help patients stop their snoring and live free with no limits! Obstructive sleep apnea is usually able to be treated with a small oral appliance. Dr. Johnson’s office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The website for more information is www.NWSleepDoc.com and the office phone is (208) 667-4551. Schedule a free consultation appointment today!

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