Dangers of Mouth Breathing

dangers of mouth breathingRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Parents spend time and money to make sure their children are safe, but did you know that how your child breathes can have a major effect—good or bad—on his or her health? Children who engage in regular mouth breathing early in life can be more vulnerable to a variety of issues, ranging from skin diseases and GI issues to a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.

How you breathe matters. The ideal manner of breathing is by taking shallow breaths through the nose. Breathing in this way means you receive a higher quantity of oxygen. Nasal breathing also produces nitric oxide, which encourages vaso-dilation in the airway, arteries, and capillaries, and allowing more oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through your bloodstream.

Mouth breathing, however, dries and constricts the airway. Less oxygen is filtered into the bloodstream. Regularly breathing through the mouth also encourages the growth of bacteria, which increases the vulnerability of sinusitis, and it can inflame the GI tract.

Sleep apnea is one of the greatest health risks associated with mouth breathing. After all, many mouth breathers also snore, and snoring is considered the biggest warning sign of a sleep breathing disorder like sleep apnea. A patient with sleep apnea experiences a collapse of the airway during sleep. These collapses can be partial or complete, disrupting your ability to breathe and jolting you out of the sleep cycle as your body gasps for air. A person with an advanced case of sleep apnea may experience these airway issues hundreds of times per night. It is no wonder you may wake up feeling tired even though you were in bed for eight hours or more.

What causes mouth breathing? The culprit could be allergies or having enlarged tonsils. In most cases, however, improper oral resting posture is the reason behind regular mouth breathing. This posture problem actually is quite common with today’s westernized diet, as it encourages narrow dental arches and can affect the proportions of the face.

By using a custom-made oral appliance, your Royal Oak sleep apnea dentist can guide your child back into the preferred oral resting posture: with lips together, teeth together, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth. Over time, using such an appliance widens the arches, allowing the permanent teeth to erupt in their optimum positions as well. This optimum oral resting posture also encourages a wide, well-functioning airway that is far less susceptible to the type of blockages that occur in sleep apnea.

A professional dental practice such as Hartrick Dentistry can prescribe an oral appliance that is far superior to the anti-snoring mouthpieces and other mouth guards available in stores. Each of these oral appliances from your Royal Oak dentist is one of a kind, made from impressions of the mouth of a patient to provide a snug, effective, comfortable fit.

Many times, children benefit from a course of myofunctional therapy, which trains muscles of the tongue and mouth to rest and function properly. This in turn will help facilitate nasal breathing and an open airway. Myofunctional therapy is offered at your Royal Oak dental office.

Parents can do their part to diminish the likelihood of mouth breathing in their children by providing a diet that includes a healthy assortment of raw and crunchy foods. Consuming these foods encourages jaw development, which is crucial as strong jaws make it easier to maintain the ideal oral resting posture.

Myofunctional therapy and sleep apnea treatment in Royal Oak

Have you noticed your child breathing regularly through the mouth or snoring loudly at night? If so, Hartrick Dentistry can help. Contact (248) 549-0950 to schedule an appointment today.

Hartrick Dentistry provides the finest level of dental care to people in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Pediatric

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    Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
    32609 Woodward Ave.
    Royal Oak, MI 48073
    Call: 248-549-0950
    Fax: 248-549-1180