Mouth breathing in children often progresses to snoring, and snoring at any age is not normal. Our airway is like a flexible pipe and any obstruction to the airway, either in the form of:
Tonsil or adenoids
Narrow upper jaw
Elongated soft palate
Backwardly positioned lower jaw
Can obstruct the free passage of airflow, causing turbulence to the air that is often heard as snoring.
8. Posture Changes
When the airway is blocked, our bodies naturally tend to get the neck and shoulders forward. Since the airway is a flexible pipe, bringing the neck forward will help in opening up the airway. Similarly while sleeping, one often sleeps with an extended neck or on the stomach like a frog; these positions open up the airway. It’s a red flag that the child is having some form of airway obstruction. This leads to posture change, primarily a forward neck and shoulder posture. This eventually, over time, will affect their neck, shoulders, back and pelvis.
9. Difficulty in Swallowing
With an incorrect jaw development, breathing becomes difficult, which also affects swallowing. The tongue may move forward and develop into an abnormal tongue thrust swallow, which may lead to speech disorders in children. An open mouth posture can also be associated with weakness or shortening of lip muscles.
10. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
Mouth breathing is common in children with enlarged tonsils & adenoids. When they mouth breathe, they exhale more carbon dioxide (CO2) which accelerates breathing. To decrease this, the body enlarges the tonsils & adenoids, resulting in the blocked nasal passage. Here, to establish continuous nasal breathing in children, the shape & position of the airway, nasal cavity and jaw needs to be corrected.
11. Asthma and Allergic Cold
Since the nose acts as a natural filter for the air we breathe, if your child breathes through the mouth instead of the nose, it may increase the risk of asthma and frequent allergic cold.
In nasal breathing, the air we breathe is filtered, warmed & humidified and reaches the lowermost part of the lungs, where a lot of blood vessels are present. This blood carries oxygen to the brain – the powerhouse of our body.
In contrast, when we mouth breathe, the air is neither filtered nor warmed and only reaches the upper part of the lungs. Plus, rather than taking in more oxygen, in mouth breathing, we end up breathing out a lot of carbon dioxide.
Nasal breathing, on the other hand, helps form Nitric Oxide that helps open up the airway and blood vessels. It helps facilitate oxygen to the brain and decreases inflammation & infections like tonsillitis and adenoids. It also helps fight viruses and bacteria, thus reducing the risk of asthma and frequent allergic cold and maintaining an optimum level of CO2 in the body.
12. Behaviour Changes
Lack of oxygen due to mouth breathing can put your child at risk of ADHD. Numerous children are often misdiagnosed with hyperactivity and attention deficit and maybe, in actuality, suffering from a sleep-breathing disorder.