Young boy with cap showing mouth-breathing.

How We Breathe Impacts our Teeth for Life

MOUTH-BREATHING CAN cause all kinds of short-term issues, many of which are connected to poor sleep quality from getting insufficient oxygen by breathing through the mouth.


Short-Term Consequences of a Mouth-Breathing Habit

If a child exhibits the following symptoms, it could be due to mouth-breathing:

Impaired speech. When a child’s mouth is always open, certain sounds become more difficult to say.

Halitosis (chronic bad breath). Whether it happens by habit or because breathing through the nose is difficult, mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth. A dry mouth means there isn’t enough saliva to properly clean out the germs. Without saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acid, the mouth is vulnerable to problems like bad breath.

Tooth decay. Other serious byproducts of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.

Irritability, lethargy, and inattention. Less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.


How Mouth-Breathing Impacts Health Long-Term

While the above issues are bad enough, the problems that come from mouth-breathing don’t stop there. If left unchecked throughout childhood, some other effects of mouth-breathing include:

Extended orthodontic treatment. Braces will take longer and there will be a higher chance of the teeth shifting back to their pre-braces position.

Altered facial structure. The bones in the face can actually develop differently because of mouth-breathing, resulting in flatter features, droopy eyes, a narrow jaw, and a smaller chin.

Sleep apnea. Mouth-breathing can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that makes it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.


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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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