What Can Happen to Kids If They Sleep With Their Mouths Open
It’s pure joy to observe every minute of your children’s lives, whether they’re crawling, eating, taking their first steps, or sleeping. Some parents find it cute and sweet when their little ones peacefully sleep in their cradles with their mouths hanging open. However, mouth breathing in children isn’t as innocent as it may seem at first glance. In fact, it can indicate certain medical issues and can cause serious health problems.
Here at Bright Side, we took a closer look at what things can happen to kids if they sleep with their mouths open, and here’s what we found out.
Breathing through one’s mouth while sleeping is not normal.
We’re naturally created to breathe through our noses, and there’s a number of reasons for that. Here are just a few vital things breathing through the nose does for our health:
- Our noses filter the air we’re breathing in, clearing it of toxins and foreign particles. In addition to that, the air gets humidified in the nose’s passageways.
- Our noses warm up the air so that its temperature becomes suitable for our lungs.
- Our noses help us smell the world around us.
While it’s normal to breathe through our mouths sometimes (like while speaking or engaging in physical activity), we’re designed to breathe through our noses most of the time.
There are many medical issues that can make a child breathe through their mouth. These consist of nasal congestion (caused by allergies, sinusitis, or other issues), inflammation, or different sorts of obstructions, like polyps, for example. Some of us developed mouth breathing as a habit in early childhood.
If your child is used to sleeping with their mouth open, there’s reason to worry. Here are some of the health issues that can be caused by mouth breathing in kids.
According to doctors, mouth breathing can cause an onset of sleep apnea (or worsen sleep apnea if the person already has it), and this is one of the most serious health consequences of this breathing habit.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing suddenly stops and then starts again. The symptoms of sleep apnea include a sudden stop in breathing during sleep, loud snoring, waking up with a dry mouth, insomnia, and daytime fatigue. Sleep apnea is dangerous in itself, and on top of that, it can cause other health issues like heart, liver, and metabolic problems.
The picture above illustrates obstructive sleep apnea, the type of sleep apnea that takes place when the throat muscles relax and don’t let the air go through the correct passageways.
Dry mouth and tooth decay
When we breathe through our mouths, the airflow dries out our lips and the whole mouth, including the gums. As a result, there are changes in the bacteria that naturally live in our mouths, which can cause tooth decay and gum problems.
A bad bite and other dental and jaw problems
The habit of using the mouth instead of the nose for breathing brings about a whole bunch of dental and jaw problems. Crooked teeth, a bad bite, malocclusion, and gummy smiles are just some of them.
This video shows how mouth breathing and the wrong tongue position that comes along with it can affect the bite, make teeth crowded, and set the jaw back. As a result, the face develops unfavorably, causing the chin to look smaller and the nose to appear bigger.
A long and narrow face
According to studies, the aforementioned mouth breathing and low tongue posture make the lower part of the face become longer. These features are quite prominent in children after the age of 5. Apart from the elongated lower half of the face, mouth breathing can lead to the so-called convex face with a small chin and sloping forehead.
If you notice mouth breathing or any other breathing issues in your child, see a doctor as soon as possible. Only qualified doctors can diagnose your child and give you the necessary medical guidelines.
Did you know mouth breathing in children can be dangerous? Share this article with other parents who may be interested in this issue!