Breathing out of the mouth may seem innocuous, but as a caring dentist serving the Decatur, GA community, I’m here to shed light on how this habit can adversely affect your oral health and facial development, especially in children.
Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Breathing
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mouth breathing is crucial because many individuals aren’t even aware that they have this habit until serious issues arise. Some common indications of mouth breathing include:
- Dry lips
- Crowded teeth
- Snoring and sleeping with an open mouth
- Frequent airway infections (sinus, ear, colds)
- Chronic bad breath
If you’re experiencing any of these problems or suspect you might be a mouth breather, I encourage you to reach out to Metro Decatur Dental Group PC. We are committed to helping you address the issue and restore your oral health.
The Root Cause: Chronic Nasal Obstruction (CNO)
Mouth breathing is often a result of Chronic Nasal Obstruction (CNO). When your body struggles to obtain sufficient oxygen through the nose, it naturally resorts to mouth breathing as an alternative source.
Consequences on Oral Health
Mouth breathing can lead to various oral health issues. It can quickly dry out the mouth and reduce saliva production. Saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing acids and washing away harmful bacteria. Without enough saliva, the risk of tooth decay and cavities escalates. Additionally, dry mouth can contribute to persistent bad breath and other serious concerns.
Moreover, dry mouth is a known risk factor for gum disease, a severe oral health problem with potential implications for your overall health, including stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. In children, mouth breathing can lead to poor sleep quality, lower oxygen levels in the blood, and facial deformities.
Impact on Facial Development
Humans are naturally designed to breathe through their noses. When forced to breathe through their mouths, their posture adjusts to maintain an open airway. This adaptation can lead to developmental problems, particularly in children who are prone to mouth breathing. Over time, a child’s face may exhibit elongation and narrowing, the nose may flatten, and the nostrils can become small. Additionally, the lips may appear thin on top and pouty on the bottom. Combining these effects with the oral health consequences reinforces that mouth breathing is a holistic issue that demands early intervention.