Mouth breathing becomes abnormal when a person breathes through his or her mouth even during rest or sleep :
Healthy human being generally breath through their nose, mouth, or both. At rest, a normal person usually breathes through the nose. During exercise, it is normal to breathe through both the nose and the mouth to increase the amount of air intake as more oxygen is needed to burn calories efficiently. Mouth breathing becomes abnormal when a person breaths through the mouth even during rest or sleep.
A person has no choice but to breath through his mouth when enough oxygen, which is required to meet his body needs, cannot enter the upper airway through the nose. This could be due to partial or complete Nasal Obstruction, Nasal Septal Deviation, Nasel Polyps, Allergic Rhinitis, Enlarged Adenoids and Tonsils, ect.
AFTER EFFECTS OF MOUTH BREATHING :
Mouth breathing can cause dryness in the mouth, which can gradually lead to halitosis, Gingivitis / Gingival Enlargement, especially in the maxillary anterior teeth, or increased levels of Dental Plaque.
ROLE OF A DENTIST :
A Dentist can often be the first one to identify a person with mouth breathing. The breathing pattern can be identified while a patient is at rest on a dental chair. Simple exercises like holding water in the mouth or a mirror / Butterfly Test will help find out if an individual should be evaluated for Hypertrophy of Adenoids and Tonsils by Radiographic and clinical examination respectively.
EXAMINATION OF THE EAR, NOSE, AND THROAT (ENT) WILL HELP EVALUATE IF THERE IS AN OBSTRUCTION IN THE NASAL CAVITY, OR ENLARGED ADENOIDS AND TONSILS.
MANAGEMENT OF MOUTH BREATHING:
1. Examination of the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT):
Examination of the ear, nose and throat will help evaluate if there is an obstruction in the nasal cavity, or enlarged adenoids and tonsils.
2. Orthodontic Treatment:
This treatment helps expand the constricted maxilla and the dentoalveolar process. Studies have shown that expanding the upper jaw can increase the size of the nasal cavity, helping improve oxygenation and air flow through the nose.
OMT helps eliminate many of the causes of improper rest posture of the tongue and swallowing abnormalities, which may help reduce mouth breathing.
A WORD OF CAUTION FOR PARENTS :
Parents should keep a close watch on the symptoms in their children like-
1. Frequent colds, coughs, or sore Throat
2. Hoarseness or unclear speech
4. Sleepwalking / talking or bed-wetting
5. Day time inactiveness
These problems may be the early signs of Mouth Breathing.
Since Mouth Breathing can cause Dry Mouth, Halitosis, Hoarseness, Chronic Fatigue, an early diagnosis and timely intervention are imperative to keep Mouth Breathing at bay.