Mouth breathing in children has extensive ill-effects. And unfortunately, the vast majority of parents are unaware. It is a major contributor to abnormal facial development and the lack of physiological well-being.
Parents often mention hearing their child grinding their teeth at night. Contrary to popular belief, this seldom has much to do with the process of shedding baby teeth. It is more likely an indicator of obstructed airways.
Mouth breathing, if left untreated, may result in a cascade of complications. These complications can be easily avoided with early detection. The complications include the development of a narrow jaw, high palate, gummy smile or other compromised facial features.
Ongoing mouth breathing also seriously prohibits good sleep. If your child is lacking in sleep, their growth and academic performance are adversely affected. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder is rife amongst children who in fact need to see an ENT surgeon.
How We Can Help
Our dentists and hygiene/ therapy team take a proactive approach to kids’ oral health. They work closely with your GP and renowned ENT surgeons. This is to ensure your child has the best chance of developing a normal face and brain. Our dentists examine your child’s mouth for signs of decay but are also always on the lookout for signs of mouth breathing. These may include high arched palates, worn enamel, enlarged tonsils and dry lips.
If our dentists identify any of these signs, you’re encouraged to book your child in for an assessment with a specialist paediatric ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon. They can check any “plumbing issues” with your child’s airway. This often reveals undiagnosed nasal allergies causing the airway obstruction.
In most cases, mouth breathing issues can be solved with nasal sprays. If your child’s airway is severely blocked, your ENT surgeon may suggest the removal of their adenoids and/or tonsils.
We encourage parents to view an excellent website by Dr Gillian Dunlop, who is a specialist consultant paediatric ENT surgeon in Sydney. She delivers a great explanation of the link between dental development and ENT problems in a series of short videos. We of course work with other fantastic ENT surgeons and can happily arrange appropriate referrals if needed.
If you have any concerns about your child’s airways, please contact us to book in a dental airway assessment.