health mind and body

If your child is a mouth breather, don’t dispair


Have you ever watched your child sleep and see them breathing through his or her mouth? Mouth breathing, or breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, may lead to trouble for youngsters.

Children who typically breathe through their mouth — most often they are children who suffer from allergies — experience problems getting enough oxygen into their blood, a condition that affects their weight, size, sleep, and even their performance in the classroom and daily life. Mouth breathing is a condition that can lead to sleep apnea, behavior and learning problems, delayed speech, dental and facial abnormalities, and even breathing problems as your child grows.

There are a multitude of reasons for an individual to mouth breathe, such as enlarged tonsils, adenoids, and deviated nasal septum, but the cause is usually allergies.

What are the symptoms

of mouth breathing?

The tongue plays a large role in influencing cranial and maxillary growth. A newborn child’s forward thrusting of the tongue to express milk from the mother’s breast is the force that drives the horizontal or forward growth of upper jaw. The tongue acts like a natural tooth retainer when the mouth is closed gently pushing the top teeth into their correct position.

When the mouth is open, the tongue rests on the floor of the mouth instead of roof. When this is done continuously, the upper jaw narrows, forcing the teeth to grow in a forward position or to overlap each other.

• Breathing primarily with mouth open and breathing will often sound shallow and raspy.

• Mouth breathers tend to grow at a slower rate than other children

• Chapped or dry lips.

• Swollen tonsils.

• Children who mouth breathe typically do not sleep well, causing them to be tired during the day and possibly unable to concentrate on studies.

• Dark circles under the eyes.

• Gingivitis.

• Narrow palate, and crowed teeth.

• Increasingly long and narrow faces termed as long face syndrome or adenoid faces.

• Gum tissue shows when smiling.

• Snoring or sleep apnea.

• High incidence of airway infections.

• Mouth breathing dries out saliva which plays important role in cavity prevention so the incidence of dental caries increases.

• Increased rate of plaque accumulation.

As bad as the mouth breathing condition sounds, it is a treatable condition. Doing so requires early diagnosis and treatment.

The team at Alina Bergan DDS, which sees patients every six months, may be in a position to identify the symptoms of mouth breathing.

If you suspect your child is a chronic mouth breather, call Dr. Bergan’s office at 516-203-4556, or you can book an appointment at