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Mouth breathing: Adverse effects on facial beauty, health, and behavior

The relationship between dentofacial growth and sleep apnea:

The relationship between dentofacial growth and sleep apnea:

Mouth breathing can affect your child's immune system, posture, attention span, mood, quality of sleep, and yes ... even the growth of their face.

Mouth breathing can change the development of your child's body, as well as their health for the rest of their life. When the mouth is left open for breathing, the cheek muscles contract.

Tight cheek muscles apply pressure to the upper and lower jaw, which creates a narrowing effect on the dental arches and face.

In addition, the tongue, which is supposed to rest naturally on the roof of the mouth, falls into the floor of the mouth.

This can make the upper arch narrower (due to the lack of lateral pressure); therefore, the middle of the face will not develop normally, because the tongue does not push that part of the face out.

The Way Your Child Breathes Can Determine How Healthy:

Mouth breathers tend to hyperventilate. With a decrease in oxygenation of the brain, muscles of the body and all cells, the body functions less than optimally.

Sleep is often disturbed, leaving the person tired in the morning and feeling fatigued mid-afternoon.

As the mouth dries out, the pH of saliva decreases, leading to increased tooth decay.

This dryness and lack of air filtration through the nose leads to enlarged and inflamed tonsils and adenoids, as well as an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, and earaches.

The decrease in carbon dioxide levels cause smooth muscle spasms associated with asthma, gastric reflux, frequent awakenings during sleep, night terrors, gasping for air, mouth breathing, neck hyperextension, secondary enuresis, and frequent nocturnal awakenings.

The “Big Three” for normal facial development:

  • Correct tongue posture (on the roof of the mouth).
  • Lips sealed with teeth lightly touching.
  • Nasal breathing.

dentofacial growth and sleep apnea

The causes of malocclusion (“bad bite”) and facial development problem:

  • Mouth breathing (often accompanied by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies).
  • Incorrect tongue posture (low tongue posture, tongue resting between the teeth).
  • Poor positions of the oral cavity (lips parted, lower jaw open, excessive pressure of the muscles of the lips and cheeks inward).
  • Adverse swallowing patterns  Thumb-sucking, excessive pacifier habit.
  • Genetics: less than 10 percent of the overall risk for facial development issues.
  • Epigentics: the environmental factors, is the dominating factor in malocclusion and poor facial development.

Mouth breathing and OSA causes significant morbidity

  • Mouth breathing and OSA causes significant morbidity and reduction in the quality of life when left untreated.
  • Mouth breathing can dry out your gums and your mouth, leading to a change in the natural bacteria, which can promote tooth decay.
  • Facial feature defects including
  • Long-face syndrome (elongated narrow face)
  • Mid-face deficiency
  • Recessed chin/jaw
  • Sunken cheeks (cheekbones don’t develop fully)
  • Small jaws without sufficient space for all permanent teeth
  • Sleep disordered breathing
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Reduction in oxygen absorption
  • Irritation of throat tissues and lungs  caused by unfiltered air
  • Psychiatric Sequelae: Children with OSA have a reduced quality of life due to increased fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration and depressed mood.

Can Obstructive Sleep Apnea Be Prevented?

Practice these “exercises” that lead to better breathing and sleep:

  • Breathe gently through the nose.
  • Keep your mouth closed (lips together) when not talking or eating.
  • Rest the tongue on the palate.
  • Try to swallow without using the facial or cervical muscles.
  • Good posture to avoid straining those muscles.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Manage chronic stress losing weight