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Mouth Breathing and Your Overall Health

Most people will immediately react in the same manner when it comes to mouth breathing. The general opinion is that it’s annoying, gross, and not something anyone really enjoys, but most people have no idea it’s far more than just annoying. It’s downright dangerous to your overall health. Spring is nearly here, and that means many people are suffering from the usual seasonal allergies. Difficulty breathing, headaches, and congestion are just a few of the less than ideal side effects that occur when someone has allergies.

However, those allergies and the way they make you breathe can cause some damage to your health that has nothing to do with allergies. There are both physical and medical health problems that occur alongside mouth breathing, and it’s time those in the dental profession make it a prominent topic in the discussion with their patients. You see your dentist every six months. That’s twice as often as you see your doctor.

What does this mean? This means that it might be your dentist who is going to catch some overwhelming health problems first. Your dentist is likely going to be the person who notices that you breathe out of your mouth rather than your nose, and they might be able to prevent some of the effects of mouth breathing by recognizing, diagnosing, and treating this serious – but often overlooked – health problem.

What is the Problem?

Mouth breathing is a problem for many people, but it’s especially problematic for those who have allergies. The reason is that allergies can cause obstructions in the airway, which can cause people to begin breathing with their mouth. Perhaps you recognize this symptom as congestion, which is a problem for anyone who cannot breathe through their nasal passages thanks to allergies. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating.  It’s seasonal, but it’s dangerous to your health. The shocking news is that mouth breathing is common in almost every family.

The Physical Side Effects of Mouth Breathing

If you aren’t worried about your overall health, perhaps the concept of changing your face shape and look is enough for you to pay attention. If you are a mouth breather, it’s possible to change the shape of your face in childhood, and that’s nothing you want to deal with. Those who breathe through their mouths in childhood without treatment and help from a medical professional are more likely to cause their face shape to become long and narrow. They can develop gingivitis, gummy smiles, and even crooked teeth all because of their breathing.

More than just the physical effects need to be discussed, too. It turns out that kids who breathe through their mouth also develop health issues that cause their growth and even their academic lifestyle to suffer. Kids are then misdiagnosed with other health problems because many health professionals have no idea what they are working with in terms of their mouth breathing. The most common diagnosis for kids with this health issue might include Attention Deficit Disorder and/or hyperactivity.

To add insult to injury, breathing through your mouth also causes you to get an improper amount of oxygen in your body. Since oxygen is a vital part of everything you do and are, this causes high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and even heart issues. These can lead to more serious health complications, too, and the problems you were living with as a child who breathes through their mouth become far more dangerous as you get older.

Kids who are breathing through their mouth do not sleep well, which is what was mentioned earlier in terms of sleep apnea. Kids who do not get enough sleep do not perform as well in school. This can cause frustration and upset, and kids might decide they aren’t good enough or smart enough, and many give up on their desire to try harder and work harder in school as a result. It’s a tragic situation. It’s difficult to concentrate as it is when you are a child, but adding sleep deprivation to the mix is a whole new problem.

Is it Treatable?

You might wonder if mouth breathing is treatable (or if you are stuck sleeping next to your mouth breathing spouse for the rest of your life) and the answer is yes. It’s treatable at any age, but it’s exceptionally important that you find out if your child has it right away so that you can allow your child to benefit from the treatment process. One of the most common signs of mouth breathing are swollen tonsils and adenoids. These are not meant to be swollen, and they can be removed quickly and efficiently by an ear nose and throat specialist.

Treatment does involve an invasive surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids, and it’s not the most ideal situation for a child. However, the improvements in the breathing your child will encounter make it worthwhile. Your child will need time to recover, but they will sleep better, they will have more ability to pay attention, they will have better comprehension, and they will have a much easier time in school. They will have more energy, and they will show a much better growth rate as they get older. The benefits are second to none, and it’s worthwhile if you can diagnose your child right away.

If you suspect you or your child is suffering from mouth breathing and the side effects of such a lifestyle, which is commonly caused by seasonal allergies, you should contact your physician right away. Your dentist might notice your issues right away and recommend you call your doctor immediately. There is help for you and your child, and it’s going to be worth it to have this situation diagnosed. It’s not something many people know is even a problem, and that is one of the biggest problems. Call our offices today to discuss your potential health issues, and to prevent more serious health issues from developing. Mouth breathing might seem annoying, but the dangers far outweigh the annoyance.