November 22, 2021
Mouth breathing is an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth remains open, passing air directly to the lungs, and is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. When a person is breathing through their mouth, the tongue can't rest on the palate as it should. This lack of normal pressure may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, leading to severe orthodontic and skeletal growth and development problems.
Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that is hard to break. Mouth breathing can also indicate underdeveloped nasal passages, oversized adenoids and tonsils, or a tongue tie. We care about your quality of life at Inspired Orthodontics in Bellevue, WA, and Seattle, WA, and further evaluation is often needed when treating mouth breathing.
During normal nasal breathing, the air passing through the nose is warmed, humidified, filtered, and partially disinfected before moving toward the lungs. Nasal breathing also adds resistance to the air stream, which increases oxygen uptake by maintaining the elasticity of the lungs.
You may find that you have been breathing through your mouth if you experience any of the following:
- Dry mouth
- Itchy nose
- Drooling while sleeping
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Waking up tired and irritable
- Chronic fatigue
- "Brain fog"
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Being a "noisy" eater
In addition to the symptoms above, children who are mouth breathers cannot often communicate their symptoms, so look for the following signs.
- Problems focusing in school
- Dry, cracked lips
- Increase in crying at night
- A strong mouth odor