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What to do if my child is mouth breathing?

October 21, 2022

What to do if my child is mouth breathing?

When discussing mouth breathing, it’s often confused with children breathing out their mouth due to a runny or stuffy nose, this isn’t the case. When we talk about habitual mouth breathing we mean a persistent and ongoing issue. In this blog, we will look at what to look out for if you think your child might be mouth breathing, as well as what to do if you identify this is the case.

Firstly, it’s important to understand as a parent why your child might breathe through their mouth. There are many different reasons children can breathe through their mouth persistently, these include:

  • Problems with the mouth and bite structure
    • The shape of your child’s jaw and mouth might be preventing them from closing their mouth correctly, which would encourage mouth breathing.
  • Blocked Nasal Passages
    • Your child’s tonsils and sinuses might be limiting airflow through their nostrils, making them feel more comfortable breathing through their mouth.
  • Bad Habits
    • Breathing is second nature - or at least it’s supposed to be. Your child’s mouth breathing might just be a bad habit that you can help them unlearn.

 It’s also important to know why mouth breathing isn’t great for children.  There are many problems that can develop from your child persistently mouth breathing

Habitual mouth breathing changes your child’s facial structure, potentially leading to:

  • Crooked teeth and overcrowding
  • Uneven face and jaw symmetry
  • Noticeable deformities
  • Overly visible gums
  • A narrow mouth
  • Persistent pain

When your child can’t breathe properly, their brain can’t function properly either. The result is:

  • Difficulties with concentration and problem solving
  • Development of sleep disorders like insomnia
  • Disrupted emotional and social development
  • Misdiagnosis of issues like ADD and ADHD
  • Slower cognitive development
  • Poor performance at school

How to identify mouth breathing?

Symptoms of mouth breathing

  • Snoring
  • Noisy eating
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Bad breath or strong mouth odour
  • Frequent cavities and tooth decay
  • A dry mouth and/or dry, cracked lips
  • A persistent slightly open-mouthed look
  • Crying or problems with sleeping at night
  • Trouble concentrating at school or complaints about “brain fog”
  • Tiredness and irritability even when they’re getting plenty of rest

Now we know the symptoms, why it happens and how to identify, we need to think about what we do once we identify it. Depending on the age of your child, there can be different options available for them. It’s always best to make an appointment with their doctor/dentist which will then get you a referral for a full diagnosis and treatment. These options can include:

  • Breathing retraining and correct tongue posture to teach your child to breathe through their nose
  • Management of allergies, thumb sucking, and infections
  • Orthodontic treatment that involves fitting braces to guide jaw and teeth movement
  • Surgery to remove the physical obstruction like adenoids, deviated septum, tongue-tie, or enlarged tonsils

Another option you can consider is one that is right here. SleepQ+ is a lip- sealing gel that controls mouth breathing when sleeping. This adhesive gel is applied to the lips to gently keep your mouth closed so you can maintain nasal breathing when sleeping. It is made in the USA to FDA manufacturing standards and is recommended by health care professionals. Please find SleepQ+ gel here.

Other useful blogs on the SleepQ+ website:

 If mouth breathing continues, it can cause lots of problems but if caught early it can be reversed.

This blog is written by Olivia Huson, Twinkl Educational Publishing and you can find her blogs here.


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