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How We Breathe Impacts our Teeth for Life

Mouth-breathing can cause all kinds of short-term issues.

Many of them are connected to poor sleep quality from getting insufficient oxygen by breathing through the mouth.

Short-Term Consequences of a Mouth-Breathing Habit

If a child exhibits the following symptoms, it could be due to mouth-breathing:

  1. Impaired speech. When a child’s mouth is always open, certain sounds become more difficult to say.
  2. Halitosis (chronic bad breath). An open mouth tends to be a dry mouth, which means there isn’t enough saliva to clean out the germs.
  3. Tooth decay. Other serious byproducts of dry mouth are tooth decay and cavities.
  4. Irritability, lethargy, and inattention. Less oxygen means worse sleep, which makes it much harder for kids to pay attention in school and to be their bright, happy selves.

How Mouth-Breathing Impacts Health Long-Term

While the above issues are bad enough, the problems that come from mouth-breathing don’t stop there. If left unchecked throughout childhood, mouth-breathing can cause the following:

  1. Extended orthodontic treatment. Braces will take longer and there will be a higher chance of the teeth shifting back to their pre-braces position.
  2. Altered facial structure. The bones in the face can actually develop differently because of mouth-breathing, resulting in flatter features, droopy eyes, a narrow jaw, and a smaller chin.
  3. Sleep apnea. Mouth-breathing can increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that makes it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.