The physical, medical, and social problems associated with mouth breathing are not recognized by most health care professionals, according to a study published in the January/February 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
“Children who mouth breathe typically do not sleep well, causing them to be tired during the day and possibly unable to concentrate on academics,” said Yosh Jefferson, DMD, author of the study. “If the child becomes frustrated in school, he or she may exhibit behavioral problems.”
Over time, children whose mouth breathing goes untreated may suffer from abnormal facial and dental development, such as long, narrow faces and mouths, gummy smiles, gingivitis, and crooked teeth. The poor sleeping habits that result from mouth breathing can adversely affect growth and academic performance. As Jefferson notes in his article, “Many of these children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity.” In addition, mouth breathing can cause poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, which can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnea, and other medical issues.