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children listening, mouth breathing in children

Mouth Breathing In Children: Reasons, Complications & Treatments

Breathing through the mouth may be necessary for your child during the days their nasal passage is blocked due to flu, cold, or any respiratory. Technically, it is not as efficient or beneficial as breathing through the nose – which is the norm and also helps in filtering the air. If you notice that your child is frequently breathing through their mouth regardless, you should take action. Chronic mouth breathing can lead to significant health problems down the lane such as slower growth, behavioral issues, and dental and facial abnormalities.


Importance of breathing through nose

Studies indicate that young children do not possess the reflex to breathe through their mouths until they are around 3 to 4 months old. If your baby is breathing through their mouth while sleeping, it could be due to an obstruction in their upper airway caused by a stuffy nose, allergies, or any medical condition. 

The importance of breathing through the nose is unparalleled since it filters toxins from the air, reaches the lungs at optimal pressure, and enables oxygen extraction and nitric acid release for proper circulation. On the other hand, chronic mouth breathing can reduce the number of filtered toxins, which can impair circulation and affect the transfer of oxygen in your child’s body, leading to health complications.

Mouth breathing in children is typically easy to notice while they are fast asleep. Sometimes, it can also be a regular habit while they are awake. Regardless of the time, chronic mouth breathing can have negative effects on young and developing brains and can also result in a high and narrow palate and a V-shaped jaw, which can cause slack-mouth overbites and misaligned bites.


Reasons why your child may be breathing through their mouth

Children who frequently breathe through their mouths do not do it intentionally. As a parent, it’s important that you’re aware of the underlying reason for this habit. Here are some reasons your child may be breathing through their mouth:

Respiratory issues

Respiratory issues can be a cause of mouth breathing in children. Mucus blockages, caused by colds, flu, or allergies, can force your child to breathe through their mouth as they may not be able to get enough air through their nose. Once the underlying cause clears up, their breathing should return to normal. However, if allergies linger, they may prolong the problem, especially if your child is allergic to common indoor allergens or has asthma.

Acquired habit

Children can develop a habit of mouth breathing even after the underlying respiratory issue has been resolved. As the duration of a common cold or flu is a more significant portion of your child’s life compared to yours, it’s easier for them to develop a habit of mouth breathing in just a week or two.

Deviated septum

A deviated septum, an uneven or asymmetrical cartilage divider between the nostrils, can cause your child trouble, especially due to their smaller respiratory systems. This abnormality, combined with other factors, can lead to conditions that make it difficult for them to breathe through their nose, which can result in mouth breathing.

Sleep apnea

Mouth breathing during sleep, especially when your child is lying on their back, could be a sign of sleep apnea, which is the collapse of soft tissue in the throat. This could be due to enlarged adenoids or tonsils. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as snoring, coughing, or breathing interruptions. Sleep apnea requires medical treatment as it can be harmful if left untreated.

If you’re concerned that your child might be having any of these potential issues, it’s best for you to consult with the best pediatric doctor in Dubai for advice.


Signs your child is a mouth breather

If your child breathes through their mouth repeatedly during sleep, it is a sign that they or may have this condition. Other indications include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Breathing through the mouth when awake
  • Grinding teeth during sleep
  • Snorting while crying
  • Silent breathing
  • Having difficulties concentrating at school

Health complications

Breathing through the nose is crucial for your child’s overall health. If not, it could lead to complications that include:

  • Oral health issues such as the dry mouth. It can cause bacteria to stay on the teeth and lead to tooth decay and gingivitis.
  • General health problems such as high blood pressure, allergies, and sleep disorders.
  • Orthodontic problems are due to poor jaw development, which can cause teeth crowding and poor facial development.
  • Children who breathe through their mouths may also experience speech problems due to the forward thrusting of the tongue.
  • Mouth breathing can cause sleep disorders such as apnea and snoring in children.


 If you observe mouth breathing in your child, schedule an appointment with a kids specialist in Dubai. The pediatric doctor may refer your child to a specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment options for mouth breathing may include breathing retraining and teaching proper tongue posture to encourage nasal breathing, addressing allergies, infections, or thumb-sucking habits, orthodontic treatment to correct jaw and teeth alignment, or surgery to remove physical obstructions such as enlarged tonsils, tongue-tie, deviated septum, or adenoids.

A pediatric dentist can evaluate your child’s oral health and suggest the appropriate treatment, depending on the severity of the condition.

If you suspect your child may be breathing through their mouth often, it is important to speak with the best Pediatrician in Dubai for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


myPediaclinic – the best pediatric clinic in Dubai

Our experienced award-winning Pediatric Dentists and Pediatricians at myPediaclinic in Dubai Healthcare City help young children have a stress-free and relaxing visit. Whether you’re getting your child’s teeth cleaned, filled, whitened, or treating a cavity, your child can enjoy colourful and vibrant surroundings, and fantastic entertainment facilities for a great experience.

 Contact us today to schedule an appointment

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