Orthodontics Can Assist in Treating Airway Issues

Mouth breathing issues

We know of the interesting relationships between your oral health, orthodontic complications, and overall health. As you have straighter teeth, it’s easier to keep them clean, leading to healthier teeth, gums, and other parts of your body. One situation that doesn’t get enough time in the spotlight, however, is mouth breathing.

More orthodontists and other specialists review the relationship between craniofacial development, dental alignment, and airway development. As such, there is an increasingly popular analysis of how specialized orthodontic treatment may help treat mouth breathing.

Indeed, many of the underlying causes of orthodontic problems, such as dental malalignment, jaw malocclusions, and bone growth complications also hold a relationship with breathing impairment. These malformations can make it more difficult to breathe through the nose, resulting in chronic mouth breathing and leading to sleep apnea, sleep disorders, and lifelong ill-health.

Orthodontists, such as the highly-qualified Dr. Nima, try to manage craniofacial development to ensure proper form and function from an early age. It’s crucial to help our children enjoy healthy development, and orthodontics can help. As your child begins their ortho treatment from an early age, we can review their skeletal growth and correct issues while their bones are still malleable.

All we want is to prevent long-term difficulties, and ortho helps achieve precisely that. Let’s analyze together what mouth breathing is and how we can treat it from the orthodontist’s office.

How Do I Know if I’m Mouth Breathing?

Let’s help our friends check if they have this problem or not. As with many other habits, it’s often something we do subconsciously. Pay attention to the following list of mouth breathing symptoms to determine if you check some of the items.

The tests used by specialists and how you answer these questions will help determine how your condition evolves and what the treatment should look like.

Mouth Breathing Symptoms

  • Dry mouth
  • Snoring
  • Bad breath
  • Feeling tired and irritable when you wake up.

These are just indicative that something may be going on, but not necessarily that you have a mouth breathing problem. We would recommend you set an appointment with a doctor to determine what’s going on in your case.

How an Orthodontist Diagnoses the Problem

As with every other condition, your Alpharetta orthodontist will require additional testing and resources to determine what is causing your problem and if it’s really mouth breathing. Some telltale signs include:

  • The way your lips seal,
  • An open bite,
  • A high narrow palate,
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gum).

Your orthodontists will follow up with a couple of tests, such as a graded mirror test, a water retention test, or a lip seal test.

The Trouble with Mouth Breathing

Some parents may wonder why it matters if a child breathes through the mouth or through the nose. Breathing is breathing, right?

Chronic mouth breathing can lead to dental and skeletal malformation in growing children. Some of these adverse changes include excessive molar eruption and lower jaw rotation. Prolonged mouth breathing also can result in the face taking on an elongated appearance – known as long face syndrome – and the lower jaw taking on an abnormal position.

These issues can lead to other problems. Low tongue posture is often a side effect of mouth breathing, which can cause the upper jaw to narrow and develop improperly.

There even is a school of thought that mouth breathing is a root cause of behavioral problems in school-age children. Mouth breathing can cause kids to sleep fitfully and prevent them from feeling rested. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and difficulty concentrating in school.

Our bodies have a design enabling us to breathe through our noses. According to an NBC article, nasal breathing allows oxygen to pass over the mucous membrane and into the sinuses, which produces nitric oxide, which the heart and blood vessels need. When you don’t breathe through your nose, your blood doesn’t receive all the oxygen necessary to work properly.

To summarize, Mouth breathing can cause the following:

  • An elongated face,
  • Narrow nostrils,
  • Trouble sealing lips,
  • Dry lips,
  • A narrowed upper lip,
  • A forward open bite.

Mouth Breathing and Orthodontics

Here’s the exciting part: Orthodontics can help make airway and breathing improvements.

Mouth breathing is reversible in children when an orthodontist, such as Dr. Nima Hajibaik, identifies it. This is one reason why Dr. Nima and the American Association of Orthodontists promote orthodontic evaluations for children at age 7.

At that age, most children won’t require intensive work, but if your Roswell orthodontist, Dr. Nima, diagnoses problems like mouth breathing, you’ll be glad to know your child can receive the interceptive treatment they need.

Treatment may include devices to expand the jaw. This process causes the mouth to widen and open the sinuses, making it easier for the child to breathe through the nose again.

Other Treatments

Your doctors will focus on any underlying causes that will help correct this condition. In some cases, antihistamines for allergies. Other patients might require changes in their choices of foods and drinks to stay away from things that hurt them. Alcohol may hurt some people and make their mouth breathing worse.

Other cases might require specialized therapies with purpose-made equipment.

Learn More

Observe your children as they breathe. If you detect mouth breathing, please call our office to schedule a consultation. Let’s work together to keep your children happy and healthy.