Melissa O. SAYS!
Some children and adults breathe through their mouth habitually. Mouth breathing can happen if you have a cold, allergies, nasal blockage, enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
There are many signs that indicate you might be a mouth breather such as snoring, sounding stuffy during the day and/or night, dark circles under the eyes and frequent upper airway infections.
Breathing through our mouth causes dry mouth, which in turn increases the risk of cavities and gum disease. The plaque on the teeth gets dry and is more difficult to remove by brushing. Dry mouth also leads to faster production of calculus or tartar (the hard deposits that only a dental professional can remove).
In children, mouth breathing can have more serious effects as the shape and size of the jaw continues forming well into the teen years. There is large amount of evidence indicating that mouth breathing has an adverse effect on the development of the face and jaw and often show malocclusion of their teeth. Both, the upper and lower jaw can narrow, the palate becomes higher and the teeth become more crowded and misaligned.
If you notice your child or a family member is a mouth-breather, please let your dental professional know about it. The sooner this is taken care of, the better. Your dentist may suggest consultation with an orthodontist, a family doctor, an ear, nose and throat specialist or even a sleep study at a sleep clinic.
Blog by Melissa O. RDH