6 problems in children who breathe through the mouth

When the child is at rest, You must breathe nasally, through your nose. This allows the filtration and heating of the air we breathe, thus preventing diseases and infections. When speaking, breathing adopts a mixed pattern, combining the nasal and oral routes.

However, when to take in and expel air, whether at rest or speaking, the mouth is used in a unique way, we are faced with a mouth respirator. What problems does it pose for the child?

Often, many children present this alteration that goes beyond just being an affectation of respiratory function but involves many other imbalances of the general system. But what, specifically, are the repercussions of mouth breathing?

1. Craniofacial alterations: The face of these children is elongated and narrow, the nose is usually smaller (due to its disuse), the cheeks are flaccid and there is less development of the jaws. The lips are chapped and incompetent, lacking in tone, which prevents the mouth from closing. This also increases drooling and gives the saliva a thicker texture.

In the same way, when the oral cavity is left open, the tongue tends to come out or to be in a low position, behind the lower incisors. In this way, the orofacial muscles end up presenting low tone or strength.

2. Dental problems: If the tongue is low, it does not contact the palate and, therefore, it does not widen or develop and the teeth crowd together, tending to protrusion (advance) of the upper incisors. In other cases, cross or open bites occur. At the same time, the presence of tartar and cavities increases.

3. Affectation of feeding: These children are barely able to eat with their mouths closed, a basic demand of any parent. Faced with difficulties in coordinating breathing and eating, they tend to chew little and swallow quickly, something that impairs digestion and increases the risk of choking, as well as obesity. Similarly, mouth respirators often present atypical swallowing (noises, compensatory movements, etc.)

4. Articulation difficulties: Mouth breathing can modify the physiognomy and, with it, deform the position, competence and functionality of certain orofacial organs. Thus, the probability of the appearance of problems such as dyslalias increases, that is, difficulties in the emission of certain phonemes.

5. Postural alterations: When there is shallow breathing (the air is not taken from the stomach, as in correct costodiaphragmatic breathing), the thoracic muscles are flaccid. Other bodily alterations are frequent, such as: shoulders forward, flat feet, head outside the vertical line with the neck, abdomen out, etc.

6. Difficulties in sleep: these children often snore, cough and have poor sleep, so they wake up tired, as evidenced by their deep dark circles. During rest, obstructive apneas (momentary interruptions in breathing) may occur. As a result, they are more sleepy during the day, so their performance at school and their attention skills may be impaired. When they wake up, they also find that their throat hurts or that their voice is hoarse and that it takes a few hours to regain clarity. This, at the same time, can be characterized by being hyponasal (gangosa).

Considering all of the above, it is easy to deduce the importance to teach our children to breathe properly. Therefore, if you perceive difficulties or symptoms such as those mentioned, it is essential that you turn to a professional for advice, make an assessment and decide whether or not to start a treatment to restore respiratory function.

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