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Mouth breathing in children is very common and while a kid with open mouth might seem cute, it is not always the case. The parents need to be made aware that a child breathing through the mouth all the time is not normal and it is high time they find a way to manage it.
A little understanding of the effects of the mouth breathing habit on the child's health in general and oral health in particular can be an eye-opener for the parent. For an educated person, there are obvious symptoms, which indicate that the child is a mouth-breather.
These symptoms include:
- Dryness of the lips
- Crowding of the front teeth
- Sleeping with the mouth open
- Recurrent infections of the airways including sinusitis and middle ear infections
- Bad breath
Common causes include:
- Chronic nasal obstruction/congestion because of which the child is not able to get enough oxygen through the nose.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Thumb or finger-sucking habit
- Recurrent respiratory infections
Effects of mouth breathing on oral health:
Mouth breathing may seem like a harmless habit, but has serious effects on the oral and dental health of the child. Some of them are discussed below.
- Dry mouth: A constantly open mouth can lead to drying up of the saliva. This in turn leads to reduced effects of saliva including the flushing effect on the bacteria and the food deposits. This leads to increased chances of tooth decay and gum diseases.
- Tooth decay: With reduced saliva, the pH remains acidic for a longer period of time, leading to increased chances of tooth decay.
- Gum diseases: Reduced amounts of saliva also leads to increased gum disease and periodontal disease as the bacteria are not removed and have a conducive environment to act upon.
- Facial development: A mouth breathing child maintains a different posture than a nose breather. This leads to a narrow and long face, flattened nose, smaller nostrils, reduced facial tone, thin upper lip, pouty upper lip, and a small lower jaw.
- Speech: An open mouth causes the tongue to thrust into the palate when talking. This leads to altered pronunciation of some sounds; especially and can cause lisping.
- Braces: Mouth breathing causes multiple challenges including prolonged treatment period, inability to close the gaps, reduced stability of the realigned teeth, and increased chances of relapse. The added complication of increased gum disease and tooth decay makes it worse. The habit needs to be corrected first before going in for braces.
If that sounds like a long list, they are not all inclusive. Early intervention in the habit can correct and negate all these effects. Talk to your dentist to know how to help your mouth breathing child.
A lot of people love to use tooth picks in order to clear out food stuck in their teeth after meals.Some people even consider to do it as a habit that they will use it, even if they no longer have to. These people do not know that there are possible hazards to using it. In order to convince them to avoid using tooth picks, here are 5 reasons why it is bad for oral health.
It can be a source of oral infections. In fact, it could also be a reason for a person to acquire more severe oral discomforts such as mouth cancer. Keep in mind that tooth picks are never sterile as they are only be stored on tables and closets kept inside their boxes or cases. It would never be ideal to put such thing inside your mouth for health reasons.
Constant tooth picking can break the enamel of your teeth. The enamel which is a hard yet thin layer covering the crown of a tooth is a vital tissue as it serves as the main protection or coat of the tooth. Due to its thinness, it can easily break this tissue given that tooth picks are made up of hard substance. Once the user applies pressure on the tooth, the enamel will easily break off of it. Just imagine all of the damage your teeth enamel has taken so far if you are using it three times a day.
It can be damaging to the gums. Whenever a person is using tooth picks, it is inevitable for them to sometimes hit their gums with it. Worse is when they apply too much pressure and they would accidentally have their gums wounded. If you have wounded or damaged gums, the chances of being able to acquire diseases would be higher most especially if the gums become infected. This is why most dentists advise their patients and clients to use dental flossers instead as they are proven to be more safe