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Treating Mouth Breathing in Kids in Mansfield, TX

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Ensuring The Healthy Development of Children in Mansfield & Beyond

As parents, we worry about every aspect of our children’s lives. So, when it comes to potential health issues, it’s important to be well-informed, especially on lesser-known conditions. One frequently overlooked health concern in kids happens to be mouth breathing. While we may brush it off as “cute” or the product of those endless daycare colds, it can lead to numerous problems that could impact your child’s health and quality of life. Dr. Jung is passionate about sleep medicine and has a special interest in children’s growth and breathing, prompting our clinic to offer the much-needed service of treating mouth breathing in kids in Mansfield, TX.

How Mouth Breathing Can Affect Facial Growth

Our respiratory systems have been designed to breathe through our noses, so mouth breathing is an unnatural action that can cause complications in the craniofacial development of children, starting in toddlerhood. When a child is 2, 50% of their facial development has already been completed. By age 12, between 89% and 94% of facial development has already happened. This highlights the importance of early intervention if your child is mouth-breathing because persistent behavior can lead to:

  • An elongated, narrow face
  • Chin recession
  • A poorly defined jaw
  • Upper facial features appear sunken in
  • The nasal passages may not be properly “trained” to reach their full capacity for taking in air
A child taking in sufficient oxygen by nasal breathing over mouth breathing

Why Nasal Breathing is Best

Nasal breathing supports children’s physical, dental, and cognitive development, making it vital to their overall health and well-being. It is considered the best method of breathing for children (and adults) for several reasons:

  • It filters and purifies the air entering the lungs, reducing the risk of airborne infections.
  • Nasal breathing also helps maintain optimal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, which is crucial for healthy brain development.
  • By enhancing oxygen levels it promotes calmness, reducing the risk of anxiety disorders.
  • It promotes proper dental and facial development and encourages correct tongue posture and jaw alignment.
  • It aids in better sleep quality by reducing the likelihood of sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

The Dangers of Long-Term Mouth Breathing

  • It can hinder proper facial and dental development, potentially leading to misaligned teeth and altered facial structure.
  • Mouth breathing can also result in poor sleep quality, contributing to issues like sleep apnea, which affects overall rest and can lead to behavioral or cognitive challenges like ADHD.
  • Long-term mouth breathing might also contribute to poor oxygen concentration in the blood, impacting overall health and development in children.

Dental Issues

Malocclusions and Bite Problems

Mouth breathing often forces the tongue into a lower position, disrupting the natural growth and alignment of the jaw. This can lead to dental malocclusions (misalignments of the teeth when the jaws are closed) and bite problems. These issues not only affect appearance but can also cause difficulties in chewing, speaking, and maintaining oral hygiene.

Behavioral Issues

Resemblance to ADHD

Chronic mouth breathing can significantly impact a child’s sleep quality, leading to sleep disturbances like sleep apnea. This lack of restful sleep can result in symptoms that mimic Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms occur because the brain, deprived of quality rest, struggles to function optimally during the day. This can affect a child’s ability to concentrate, learn, and manage emotions, leading to behavioral challenges often mistaken for ADHD.

Why You Should Pay Attention To Your Child’s Breathing

Parents should be attentive to their child’s breathing patterns because early detection and treatment of mouth breathing can prevent various health issues from developing. A dentist trained in sleep medicine, like Dr. Jung, can address underlying dental or structural causes, promoting proper facial development and preventing long-term dental problems. Early intervention by a dentist can also ensure the child develops healthy breathing habits crucial for optimal physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Hence, parental vigilance is key to ensuring timely and effective treatment.

Signs To Look Out For

  1. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, especially during sleep.
  2. Dry lips and mouth upon waking.
  3. Frequent snoring or noisy breathing during sleep.
  4. Regularly waking up tired and irritable.
  5. Problems concentrating during the day.
  6. Chronic nasal congestion or stuffiness.
  7. Altered facial development, like a longer face or dental misalignment.

How Dr. Jung Can Help

A child wearing a mouth guard to prevent mouth breathing while sleeping in Mansfield, TX

Your family dentist in Mansfield is an excellent starting point for addressing mouth breathing concerns because we are skilled in recognizing the signs of this condition, especially those related to oral and facial development. Dr. Jung can identify the dental impacts of mouth breathing, such as misaligned teeth or an improper bite, and can also refer you to other specialists, like allergists or ENT doctors, for comprehensive care. Our familiarity with your child’s oral health history makes us well-positioned to detect and address these issues early. Dr. Jung has also undergone specialized further education and training to address mouth breathing in kids, making her an expert in these areas. Here are some of our specialized services:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: We conduct thorough assessments to identify the underlying causes of mouth breathing, ensuring a tailored treatment plan.
  • Orthodontic Solutions: Our treatments may include orthodontic interventions to correct structural issues contributing to mouth breathing.
  • Oral Appliance Therapy: Most of our young patients benefit a great deal from sleeping with a special mouthguard that encourages proper jaw alignment and nasal breathing. Younger kids may also benefit from habit appliances like palatal expanders & space maintainers. Learn more about oral appliance therapy here.
  • Myofunctional Therapy: We offer exercises and therapies aimed at strengthening oral and facial muscles, promoting healthy breathing patterns.
  • Parental Guidance: Educating parents about the signs, consequences, and preventive measures of mouth breathing in children.
  • Collaborative Care: We collaborate with other healthcare professionals for holistic care, addressing any related respiratory or sleep issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can Dr. Jung diagnose mouth breathing?
A: We can diagnose mouth breathing by looking for oral signs such as dry lips, gum inflammation, and dental malocclusions. They may also ask about sleep patterns and breathing habits.

Q: What are the treatment options?
A: Treatment options include orthodontic interventions to correct jaw alignment, myofunctional therapy to strengthen oral muscles, and oral appliance therapy.

Q: How long should I wait to seek treatment
A: Early intervention is key. If you notice signs of mouth breathing, it’s best to visit us as soon as possible to prevent long-term complications.

Q: Are there any surgical interventions?
A: A laser tonsillectomy can be effective in treating mouth breathing if enlarged tonsils are the underlying cause. This procedure uses a laser to remove or reduce the size of the tonsils, potentially improving airway flow and reducing mouth breathing. This procedure is minimally invasive and well tolerated by young patients.

Q: Is mouth breathing in babies normal?
A:
Mouth breathing in babies is not typically considered normal, especially when it is persistent. While occasional mouth breathing due to temporary conditions like nasal congestion is common, consistent mouth breathing can indicate underlying issues that may need medical attention.

Safeguard Your Child’s Health With Treatment for Mouth Breathing in Mansfield, TX

If you have noticed your child regularly breathing through their mouth and you’re concerned about the potential health implications, don’t hesitate to come see Dr. Jung. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and explore our treatment options for mouth breathing in kids.

older lady smiling after a visit to the dentist

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